An eight-year prison sentence was handed down for an Indio resident for his role in the stabbing death of a 57-year-old man six years ago.
Raymond Anthony Lopez, 28, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in March 2019 and was sentenced on Friday at the Larson Justice Center.
The defendant’s uncle, David Montoya Sanchez, 49, of Indio, was convicted in February 2019 of first-degree murder and was sentenced in January to 56 years to life behind bars.
The pair were arrested along with Lopez’s girlfriend, Melanie Anaya, in the days after Felix Candelaria was stabbed in the driveway of his home in the 84000 block of Lingayan Avenue in an unincorporated area near Indio on Jan. 13, 2014.
Candelaria was pronounced dead at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs about 90 minutes later.
According to prosecutors, the victim had provided a woman with money and a ride to a store to buy groceries. In exchange, she agreed to pay Candelaria back using some of her public assistance benefits at the end of the month.
Once the money was loaded onto the woman’s EBT card, she gave it Candelaria with the understanding that he use $80 of the $600 on the card, according to prosecutors.
But Candelaria instead used all $600, and would not pay her back, prompting her to employ her longtime friend, Sanchez, to help retrieve the money “because she knew people feared him and she believed he could get the money from the victim,” the prosecution’s trial brief states.
On Jan. 13, 2014, the three defendants went to Candelaria’s home to confront him, during which Sanchez stabbed him multiple times in the driveway, prosecutors said.
Sanchez had a prior strike conviction, which doubled his minimum sentence.
Anaya, 28, of Coachella, pleaded guilty to being an accessory and was sentenced to three years probation in April 2019.
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