Gang Members Sentenced in 2019 Murder

Written by Estero Bay News

May 4, 2022

From left to right: Gang members, Robert Joseph Garay; Gabriel Luis Garay; and Nathaniel Alexander Jara have been sentenced to state prison for their involvement in the 2019 murder of an Arroyo Grande man, the District Attorney’s Office said in a news release.

Three South County gang members have been sentenced to long terms in state prison for their involvement in the 2019 murder of an Arroyo Grande man, the District Attorney’s Office said last week.

D.A. Dan Dow announced that the three men — Robert Joseph Garay, 30; Gabriel Luis Garay, 23; and Nathaniel Alexander Jara, 24 — had each pled guilty to varying parts in the April 2, 2019 murder of Daniel Fuentes, 41 of Arroyo Grande. The men had pled guilty to the charges they faced in February and were sentenced April 22.

Robert Garay was given 30-years to life in prison after pleading to second-degree murder, and “for active participation in a criminal street gang,” the news release said. “He also admitted that he was previously convicted of the crime of assault with a deadly weapon in 2010, which is a ‘strike under California’s Three Strikes sentencing law.”

His younger brother, Gabriel Garay, was convicted of voluntary manslaughter and active participation in a criminal street gang, the D.A. said. He too had a previous felony crime conviction of assault by force likely to cause great bodily injury in 2015, the announcement said. That crime was also a strike under State Law. Gabriel Garay was sentenced to 13-years and 4-months in state prison.

Java was also convicted of voluntary manslaughter and being in a criminal gang and he too had a prior conviction. Java “admitted that he was previously convicted of the crime of possession for sale of a controlled substance for the benefit of a criminal street gang in 2018,” the D.A. said, “which is also a strike under California’s Three Strike Law.” Java also received 13-years and 4 months in state prison.

The crime seems to have been a totally senseless act. At the trio’s evidentiary hearing held last February before Superior Court Judge Jacquelyn H. Duffy, it was revealed that the three were riding in the same car driven by Java, “when they came upon Daniel Fuentes who was riding his bicycle. When all three defendants got out of their vehicle, Robert Garay fired a handgun at Mr. Fuentes, striking him twice in the back, killing Daniel Fuentes,” the news release said.

D.A Dow said, “The People of San Luis Obispo County and all of California deserve full enforcement of our laws to hold violent criminals fully accountable and to keep our communities as safe as possible. That means, in San Luis Obispo County we do not decline to file criminal enhancements when the evidence supports them like some other California elected prosecutors.”

He applauded the tough sentences. “This prosecution and appropriately strong prison sentences send a resounding message that San Luis Obispo County will fully enforce the law to protect our community.”

The case was investigated by the County Sheriff’s Office and the District Attorney’s Office Bureau of Investigations and was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorneys Lindsey Bittner and Danielle Baker.

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