A 40-year-old man convicted of fatally stabbing the boyfriend of his ex-girlfriend and then stabbing and kidnapping her in Santa Ana was sentenced Friday to more than 28 years to life in prison.
Teodoro Bernal Nunez was convicted in January of second-degree murder, domestic battery causing injury with a prior conviction for violence, and kidnapping, all felonies.
He was also convicted of a misdemeanor count of violating a protective order, and jurors found true sentencing enhancements for the personal use of a deadly weapon and causing great bodily injury in a domestic violence case.
Nunez fatally stabbed 27-year-old Omar Giron Castillo on June 18, 2016, and then stabbed and kidnapped his ex-girlfriend, said Deputy District Attorney Janine Madera, who had sought a first-degree murder conviction.
The defendant’s attorney, Jay Moorhead, argued that the killing was not premeditated. He said Nunez’s passions were inflamed when he saw his ex-girlfriend’s new suitor outside her home, which led to the stabbing.
Nunez and his ex-girlfriend had been dating for about two years prior to the attacks, according to Moorhead, who said they started having domestic disputes about a year into the relationship.
Nunez pleaded guilty on Dec. 1, 2015, to battering the woman and was sentenced to eight days in jail and ordered to participate in a treatment program for domestic violence defendants.
He was also prohibited from contacting the victim, but moved back in with her, Moorhead said.
After the two got into another fight in May 2016, he moved out again. When they met again a day before the murder so he could get back some stereo cables, Nunez gave the victim an unwanted hickey, Moorhead said.
The woman called police, who told Nunez to turn himself in, the defense attorney said. Thinking he would be deported or jailed, Nunez decided to drive over to the woman’s home on June 18, 2016, to give her his truck that he had just bought, Moorhead said.
When he got to her home in the 1200 block of South Oak Street about 1:30 a.m., Castillo was out front and the deadly conflict ensued, Madera said.
Moorhead maintained that the ex-girlfriend was accidentally stabbed in the stomach as she ran toward Nunez, who put the woman in the vehicle and started driving until he was pulled over in Brea for a broken taillight.
Castillo’s wife at the time testified that she did not know of his relationship with the defendant’s ex-girlfriend, Madera said.