Man gets 72 years in Grand Junction crime wave, murder
In a hearing over nearly four hours today, Mesa County District Judge Thomas Deister imposed a maximum 72-year prison sentence against a California gang member involved in a one-day crime wave in Grand Junction in 2011, including the fatal shooting of an innocent bystander outside North Avenue’s Taco Bell.
Christian Fuentes, 22, of East Palo Alto, Calif., bowed his head as Deister today announced the sentence, and as sobs rose from the family of slain 31-year-old Jorge Carrasco Jr. The plea agreement gave Deister a possible sentencing range between 25 and 72 years in prison after Fuentes’ guilty pleas earlier this year to second-degree murder, two counts of robbery, two counts of menacing and second-degree burglary
Fuentes pleaded guilty as a complicitor in the armed robberies of Teller Arms Liquor, 2353 Belford Ave., and Cash Advance America, 2502 U.S. Highway 6&50, and the burglary of a home in the 2600 block of Chestnut Drive. Guns were stolen from the home which were used to gun down Carrasco, capping a 14-hour crime wave on July 16, 2011.
Lester Miranda-Davis, 21, of Clifton, was sentenced earlier this year to 24 years in prison for his role. Prosecutors have alleged the slaying was a “trophy killing,” according to court records.
Fuentes and the suspected gunmen during Carrasco’s shooting, Jaime Cardenas, 21, and Fidel Silva, 25, also of East Palo Alto, Calif., were known members of the Norteno gang of northern California.
Cardenas and Silva remain at-large and are still on the Grand Junction Police Department’s 10 Most Wanted list.
Prosecutors on Wednesday disclosed new facts in the investigation.
Read the full story in Thursday’s Daily Sentinel.