A 26-year-old Santa Ana man pleaded guilty Friday to voluntary manslaughter and was immediately sentenced to six years in prison, or time already served in custody, for his part in the fatal shooting of a teenage rival gang member in Santa Ana.
Juan Manuel Galvan testified against co-defendant Jesus Canales, 25, who was convicted of murder and sentenced in May to life in prison without the possibility of parole. His plea deal was agreed to before he testified against Canales.
Galvan admitted his part in the July 22, 2011, shooting of 16-year-old Alberto Miller.
The victim was killed while hanging out with friends on the porch of a home in the 300 block of East Washington Avenue.
Miller, whose gang nickname was Goofy, was hanging out with friends on a side porch when he was shot by Canales, who rode into gang-rival territory with Galvan on bicycles “looking for trouble,” Senior Deputy District Attorney Mena Guirguis said.
Galvan, who was trying to get into Canales’ gang, was smoking methamphetamine with the defendant when Canales asked him to go looking for rival gang members, Guirguis said in his opening statement of Canales’ trial.
Miller was shot in a leg and through the heart, Guirguis said. The two targeted the teen and his group because the porch had the rival gang’s graffiti, the prosecutor said.
Galvan appeared to act as a “lookout” as Canales shot Miller, Guirguis said. The two fled after the shooting and ditched the bikes and gun before hiding out in a gang “safe house,” the prosecutor said.
The case would have gone unsolved if two teenage girls with the victim hadn’t recognized Galvan, who was a friendly acquaintance, Guirguis said. Galvan made “eye contact” with one of the girls, and they cursed him as he fled, the prosecutor said.
When police came looking for Galvan, he called investigators and turned himself in, Guirguis said. Galvan admitted taking part in the shooting, but was reluctant to snitch on Canales because he feared retaliation from the gang, the prosecutor said. Eventually, investigators convinced Galvan to tell them Canales shot the victim, he said.
Canales fled to Mexico, but he was caught there in July 2016 and later extradited, Guirguis said. On the plane ride back to Santa Ana, Canales said he had been deported to Mexico in 2009 and had not been back to the U.S. since, but investigators determined that was a lie because he had been checking in with his probation officer regularly before the shooting, Guirguis said.