Local

Plea deals accepted in a million dollar murder plot

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Three people accused of murdering a man to collect nearly $1 million in life insurance money accepted plea deals.

Prosecutors say Edgar Garcia, Laura Hernandez, and her son Erick Camarillo, killed Hernandez's husband.

Erick Camarillo and his mother, Laura Hernandez, walked into court together Wednesday morning to accept their plea deals. They're accused of killing 40-year-old Alberto Macias in a home near Dos Palos in March of last year. The victim was Hernadez's husband, and Camarillo's step-father. Prosecutors say a third defendant, Edgar Garcia, shot Macias twice in the head.

Harold Nutt, Chief Deputy District Attorney said, "We believe that Laura was the mastermind of this whole thing and pressured the kids to be involved."

Investigators say Hernandez offered Garcia $5 thousand to kill her husband -- and threatened to make her teenage daughter abort Garcia's baby if he didn't. Detectives also learned Hernandez had taken out nearly $1 million in life insurance policies on her husband before his death.

During this hearing, Hernandez entered a plea of no contest to second degree murder. She's now facing a sentence of 15 years to life in prison. Garcia plead no contest to voluntary manslaughter with an enhancement for using a gun and is facing 21 years in prison. And Camarillo entered a no contest plea to voluntary manslaughter with a six year prison term.

"He didn't have much involvement in it," said Harold Nutt. "So I think the sentence for him reflects his involvement."

Investigators say Camarillo drove Garcia to the scene and later lied about it. He was a sophomore at U.C. Merced at the time of the murder.

Hayden Smith, Defense Attorney said, "He had a promising future. I think to some extent he's sacrificing that at least for the meantime, and it's tragic."

But prosecutors say the plea deals saved both sides from a difficult trial.

Harold Nutt said, "It puts an end to this miserable case, and I think we've held ones responsible."

Hernandez's 16-year-old daughter is also accused of playing a role in the murder. Her case is still pending in juvenile court. The official sentencing for the other three defendants is set for October 11th.

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Tags:
murder, crimetracker, court, merced county, dos palos, local, sara sandrik
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