SANTA CRUZ – Judge John Salazar on Friday sentenced Albaro Amaral Jr., of San José, to life in prison for the murder of Kevin Medina-Lopez in the Santa Cruz Mountains and other related charges.
Amaral, 30, was arrested by the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office on July 9 for his alleged involvement in the fatal shooting of Kevin Medina-Lopez, 27, on the 17000 block of Laurel Road, near the Highway 17. Medina-Lopez was found fatally shot in the neck and chest, lying next to residential mailboxes on the Laurel Road side on June 14.
Witnesses have said in previous hearings that Amaral and Medina-Lopez were members of the same San Jose gang.
Amaral, who pleaded not guilty during the six-week trial, was convicted of murder, two counts of attempted murder, carjacking and being a criminal in prohibited possession of firearms and ammunition. Three of these charges each carry a sentence of 25 years to life or more.
Kevin Medina-Lopez’s father Marcos Medina spoke during the sentencing.
“To the accused, I forgive him, with all my heart,” Medina said, through an interpreter. “Whatever happens, nothing will bring my son back and if he was alive today and had the chance to say something, he would forgive him too, I know that.”
Medina also expressed his sadness for the Amaral family, which includes a wife and two children.
“For them it will be even more difficult and I hope God will give them strength,” said Medina.
Amaral, 31, barely reacted to the hearing.
Judge Salazar spoke directly to Amaral and asked him to use his time in prison to help the young people.
“Look at the tragedy we have here, nothing but pain,” said Salazar. “You can do better. I see something in you that tells me that you can help others, I hope you see the same.
Amaral was ordered to pay more than $ 9,000 in restitution.