Man Sentenced in 2000 Killing for Which Another Man Was Jailed, Then Cleared

Samuel Calvario pleaded no contest in April to voluntary manslaughter

A 48-year-old man was sentenced Tuesday to 14 years in state prison for killing a good Samaritan -- a crime for which a San Fernando man spent more than two weeks in custody in 2016 before being cleared of any involvement.

Samuel Calvario pleaded no contest April 3 to voluntary manslaughter and admitted a gun use allegation stemming from the Nov. 9, 2000, killing of Felix Pineda, according to Deputy District Attorney Ryan Dibble. Calvario also pleaded no contest to assault with a firearm against his ex-girlfriend on the same date, according to the prosecutor.

The defendant -- who entered his plea a day after jury selection began in his trial -- agreed to waive credit for time he had served in custody since his Sept. 28, 2016, arrest in Connecticut.

Pineda, 31, was shot to death while intervening in a dispute between Calvario and Calvario's then-girlfriend, authorities said.

Calvario was taken into custody three weeks after Los Angeles County prosecutors announced that Guillermo Torres -- who had been arrested July 25, 2016, by Los Angeles police -- was not the man being sought in Felix's killing.

Torres spent more than two weeks in custody before being released on electronic monitoring and then being cleared on Sept. 8, 2016. He had been arrested following a tip to police about a photo someone spotted in the "Most Wanted" section of the Los Angeles Police Department's website seeking the public's assistance in finding Calvario.

Authorities ended up comparing Torres' DNA to DNA collected from Calvario's child and determining that Torres was not Calvario; shortly after, authorities said the 45-year-old man was cleared of being involved in the crime.

"For an innocent man, it was really a nightmare," Torres' attorney, Leonard Levine, said then. "It was clearly established that he was not the person sought."

After Calvario's plea, Levine said, "We're happy that the right person was prosecuted and held responsible."

Torres has filed a lawsuit alleging that he was unlawfully arrested.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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