Two gang members are facing potential life prison terms for the murder of a 19-year-old Marine from Camp Pendleton, who was found shot inside his car in South Los Angeles.
A Los Angeles Superior Court jury deliberated less than two hours Wednesday before convicting Oscar Aguilar, 28, and Esau Rios, 31, of one count each of first-degree murder and shooting at an occupied motor vehicle, along with finding true allegations that Lance Cpl. Carlos Segovia-Lopez's killing was committed in association with or for the benefit of a criminal street gang. Jurors also found Aguilar guilty of one count of possession of a firearm by a felon, and found true an allegation that he personally discharged a handgun.
Segovia-Lopez, who was from Los Angeles, was on leave from Camp Pendleton in San Diego County when he confronted Aguilar and Rios after seeing them possibly tampering with vehicles on Sept. 16, 2016, according to prosecutors. At Rios' direction, Aguilar approached the Marine, who was sitting in his Dodge Charger at 31st Street and St. Andrews Place, and shot him once in the head, according to court testimony.
Segovia-Lopez was found covered in blood and slumped over the steering wheel. He was taken off life support three days later after doctors informed his family that he could not be saved. Aguilar and Rios were arrested by Los Angeles police nearly two months later, and have remained behind bars since then. Judge Kathleen Kennedy ordered the two to be held without bail while awaiting sentencing July 8.
Aguilar -- who prosecutors say has prior convictions for assault with a deadly weapon with great bodily injury, felony vandalism, criminal threats and possession for transportation or sale of narcotics -- is facing a maximum of 107 years to life in state prison.
Rios is facing up to 50 years to life behind bars. A third man, Ricky Valente, 21, pleaded no contest to being an accessory after the fact, and is facing three years on probation, according to the District Attorney's Office. At an October 2016 memorial service for Segovia-Lopez at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti praised him for his work with a local program to assist the homeless.
"For Carlos, that was not some class of other people. That was his brother," Garcetti said.
"At a moment when we want to denigrate each other because of where we come from, what uniforms we serve, or we think we know people before we know them, let us all stop and learn and find who we are -- the connections that unite us, not the ones that divide us," Garcetti said. "Let us make the passing of Carlos something that bring us together in service and love and unity. At the end of our days we're left with two things: who did we know and what did we do. By that measure, Carlos, you left and led the most blessed of lives."