A 34-year-old man pleaded guilty Friday and was immediately sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for fatally shooting of a fellow Santa Ana resident nearly three years ago.
Juan Yepez Martinez pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and admitted a sentencing enhancement in the killing 40-year-old Carlos Sanchez Benitez. The defendant has been in custody since July 20, 2020.
Just before 12:25 a.m. July 20, 2020, police responded to a report of a gunshot victim in a vehicle in the 500 block of South Flower Street, police said. Benitez was slumped over the wheel of the car with gunshot wounds to his upper body and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Martinez and Benitez had some sort of ongoing dispute, but police did not have details at the time of the defendant’s arrest.
Detectives retrieved a rifle they believe was the murder weapon while executing a search warrant, police said.