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Sentencing postponed for two men convicted of shooting death at World Cup viewing party

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CHULA VISTA (CNS) - A judge reluctantly agreed Friday to postpone the sentencing of two men convicted in the shooting death of a father of four during a fight at a World Cup viewing party at a National City restaurant last year.

Superior Court Judge Stephanie Sontag granted a defense request to continue the sentencing so a motion for a new trial for both defendants could be heard on Dec. 11. She apologized to the victim's family for the delay.

"You have been put through so much," the judge told Josue Crook's family members. "Justice sometimes is slow."

Daniel Arce Gonzalez, 37, was convicted of second-degree murder for gunning down the 36-year-old victim outside the Rincon Del Mar restaurant on June 17, 2014.

Salvador Oswaldo Chavez, 38, was also convicted of second-degree murder in Crook's death, and jurors found the defendant guilty of assault with a deadly weapon for stabbing a second victim outside the restaurant on Highland Avenue.

Deputy District Attorney Melissa Diaz said a fight started when one person in the defendant's group thought somebody in the victim's group looked at him funny and started a fistfight.

The fight quickly escalated and Chavez stood guard when Gonzalez pulled out a handgun and shot Crook - a nursing assistant - multiple times in front of the restaurant where patrons had gathered to watch the Mexico-Brazil World Cup soccer match, Diaz said.

"Mr. Gonzalez and Mr. Chavez acted as a team during the entire time that they were there, each looking out for one another, focusing on one another, assisting one another and helping one another during the entire murder and stabbing," Diaz said after the verdict.

Gonzalez was arrested in Tijuana on July 14, 2014, and returned to San Diego County to stand trial.

Gonzalez's attorney, Jan Ronis, said he was shocked that his client was convicted of murder and not manslaughter, saying there was plenty of evidence that Gonzalez was defending himself.

Gonzalez faces a sentence of 40 years to life in prison. Chavez faces 15 years to life behind bars.

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