SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A boxing trainer who fatally shot a colleague and two others at a Vista gym two years ago was sentenced Monday to 86 years to life in state prison.
Mark Anthony Diaz, 51, was convicted last year of first-degree murder and other charges stemming from the April 7, 2010, death of 52-year-old Hector Gil.
Boxer Ricky Gutierrez and another trainer, Peter Moreno, were wounded but survived the shooting at Pacific Coast Gym.
Since Diaz's conviction, his attorneys had been looking into the legality of a search of the defendant's jail cell during his trial, in which he said key attorney-client notes were taken and never returned.
The search occurred just before jurors were taken on a "scene visit" to view evidence in the case, defense attorney James Fitzpatrick said last June. The attorney said security shouldn't have been an issue since Diaz had waived his right to be present on the jury's trip into the community.
Fitzpatrick told Judge Kerry Wells that Diaz was going to testify in his own defense, but decided not to when only one of 12 pages of his handwritten notes was returned.
After a hearing Monday, Wells denied the defendant's motion for a new trial and imposed the sentence.
Albert Gamez, a "cut man" who knew both the defendant and the victim, testified at the trial that Diaz called him in February 2010 and asked him not to help Gutierrez with an upcoming fight because Diaz and Gutierrez had had a disagreement. Gutierrez had decided to train with Gil, Gamez testified.
The witness said Gil told him that Diaz had been threatening him.
At another fighter's bout in April 2010, Gil had Gamez listen to voice-mail messages from Diaz, the witness testified.
Gamez said Diaz left a message saying he was "going to blast him or shoot him."
"He (the defendant) said, 'I'm going to blast you, I'm going to shoot you. You're gonna die," Gamez testified. "He (Gil) was clearly bothered by it."
Gamez said he tried to contact Diaz to explain why he was helping Gutierrez, but the calls were never returned.
The witness said Diaz left another message for Gil that said, "You're (expletive) with the wrong person. You watch. You watch. You're gonna get yours."
Salvador Gonzalez, who took his son to train at Pacific Coast Gym, said he and Gil became close, and the victim confided in him about a month before the shooting that Diaz had threatened to hurt him because he had taken his fighter.
The owner of the gym had obtained a restraining order to keep Diaz away from the premises, according to prosecutor Patrick Espinoza.
With just a week to go, many people across the U.S. are buzzing about the "Great American Eclipse."