A Coachella Valley man convicted of stabbing a 57-year-old man to death six years ago was sentenced Friday to 56 years to life in state prison.
David Montoya Sanchez, 49, was one of three people arrested in the days after Felix Candelaria was found stabbed in the driveway of a home in the 84000 block of Lingayan Avenue in an unincorporated area near Indio on Jan. 13, 2014.
The victim died about 90 minutes after being found at Desert Regional Medical Center.
A motive for the killing has still not been disclosed.
A jury found Sanchez guilty of first-degree murder in February 2019, and found true a sentencing-enhancement of using a weapon during a felony.
Court records show Montoya has a lengthy criminal record in Riverside County, including felony convictions for burglary, robbery, evading arrest and possessing a controlled substance for sale.
According to John Hall, spokesman for the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office, Sanchez had a prior strike conviction, which doubled his minimum sentence of 25 years to life for the murder count to 50 years to life. He also received one year for the sentencing enhancement, and an additional five years for an unspecified prior conviction.
Before sentencing, a judge denied Sanchez’s motion for a retrial.
His accomplice, Indio resident Raymond Anthony Lopez, 28, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in March 2019.
A third person arrested in the crime pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact. Melanie Anaya, 28, of Coachella, was sentenced to three years of probation in April 2019.
Lopez is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 21 at the Larson Justice Center in Indio. He is being held at the Indio jail without bail.
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