A 25-year-old Laguna Hills resident pleaded guilty Friday to voluntary manslaughter for his part in the ambush killing of a man who was stabbed to death near Trabuco Creek in San Juan Capistrano three years ago.
Myles Emmanuel Jones, who is scheduled to be sentenced April 17, has agreed to testify against five co-defendants also charged in the killing of 38-year-old Alvaro Rios.
Jones, who faces a maximum punishment of 11 years in prison, is expected to have a murder charge dismissed after testifying. Jones may not have to testify, however, if prosecutors choose not to call on him, his attorney Doug Myers said.
Jones also pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of brandishing a replica gun and was given credit for 480 days served in jail awaiting trial on the murder case.
The other defendants are Ashkan Dezhangfard, 25, of San Juan Capistrano, Ryan Hubner, 24, of Laguna Niguel, Siavish Hosseinaliarhani, 21, of Laguna Niguel, Anjelica Marie Shibata, 31, of San Juan Capistrano, and Brion Cairo Hyde, 25, of San Juan Capistrano.
Huebner and Hyde are due in court for pretrial hearings, set for next Wednesday and Dec. 13, respectively. The rest are due back in court on Feb. 7.
They are all charged with murder with a special circumstances allegation of lying in wait, making them eligible for at least life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.
Shibata and Hyde were living together as a couple in San Juan Capistrano, but Shibata was also romantically involved with Rios when the married father was killed.
Shibata allegedly asked Rios to meet her in a remote area near a bike path in San Juan Capistrano in the early morning of July 12, 2016. All of the defendants were allegedly there when Rios was attacked and left for dead. A jogger found the body the next day and called sheriff’s deputies.
When Rios’ wife found out about the affair, she started posting negative comments about Shibata on Facebook, Myers said.
Investigators suspect Shibata told Hyde that Rios had raped her, and then the two told the others about the alleged sexual assault, which led to the alleged ambush, Myers said.
Myers alleged that two of the defendants brought knives to the planned beating and attacked the victim, but it is unclear which defendant dealt the fatal wound.
It’s not clear if the rape allegation is true or not, Myers said.
>> Want to read more stories like this? Get our Free Daily Newsletters Here!Follow us: