Photo via Pixabay
Photo via Pixabay

A Pasadena man who gunned down his live-in girlfriend, her 91-year-old father and a good Samaritan who tried to come to the woman’s aid was sentenced Wednesday to 181 years to life in prison.

John Izeal Smith, 47, pleaded guilty Dec. 22 to two counts of first- degree murder for the July 12, 2014, killings of Maria Aguiar, 59, and Luis Fernando Aguiar. He also pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree murder for killing Jose Hernandez Iribe, 31.

Smith also pleaded guilty to one count each of assault with an assault weapon on a peace officer, who was not struck by the gunfire, and the attempted murder of Aguiar’s adult daughter.

A number of the victims’ relatives told Superior Court Judge Michael Carter that their families have been greatly affected by the crime, which occurred at a Pasadena home in the 1700 block of North Summit Avenue.

According to his grandson, Luis Aguiar used to say that he wasn’t afraid of dying from an illness like cancer.

“Instead, his last moments of life were lived in terror at the hands of a merciless coward,” Sergio Hernandez said. “My grandfather and aunt were murdered by a big piece of garbage …”

Luis Aguiar’s granddaughter said he had prayed for Smith.

“Little did he know that you were the serpent in his garden …,” Jacqueline Hernandez told the defendant.

Claudia Haro — who was fired on by Smith as she and her mother tried to flee — spoke directly to the defendant, telling him, “You tried to kill me.”

“You’re a pathetic coward,” she said. “I trusted you with my family.”

Iribe’s cousin said his family was devastated.

“We miss him. He was a good person. He’s missed a lot,” Jesus Lopez Iribe said, adding that “only God can forgive this man for everything he’s done.”

The judge noted that Smith had agreed to plead guilty and “accept the consequences,” sparing the victims’ family members from having to go through a trial, “although it doesn’t take away the pain.”

Prosecutors had decided earlier not to seek the death penalty against Smith.

Deputy District Attorney Garrett Dameron noted that Smith agreed to waive all of his rights to an appeal as a result of the plea agreement.

Smith did not speak at his sentencing, other than to tell the judge that he waived his presence at an April 27 hearing to determine how much restitution he should pay to the victims’ families.

Smith got into a fight with Maria Aguiar, grabbed an assault rifle and opened fire on her and her daughter as they ran from the house after the younger woman confronted him, according to Deputy District Attorney Geoff Lewin.

Neighbors said Smith fired at least one more shot at Aguiar after she had fallen to the ground and was pleading for her life, according to the prosecutor.

Smith went back inside the house, called 911, came outside again and fired more shots at multiple people, including a Pasadena police officer, Lewin said. He said Iribe was struck by the gunfire after trying to come to the mortally wounded woman’s aid.

Smith then  went back inside the home and killed Aguiar’s father, who lived with his daughter and Smith, while speaking to the 911 operator during the phone call, Lewin said.

—City News Service

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.