One year after defendants Carlos Medina, 45, Jonathan Andrade, 21, and Roman Romero, 19, entered their not guilty pleas to second-degree murder, each accepted a deal and pleaded guilty to felony voluntary manslaughter for their participation in a fatal assault in late 2013. Their second-degree murder charges will be dismissed at sentencing.
Richard Boden, a 51-year-old homeless man, was taken to the hospital in September 2013 after he was discovered lying unconscious in Granny’s Field behind the Turnpike Shopping Center. He was taken off life support a month later at the request of his family. According to Deputy District Attorney Anthony Davis, who is handling the prosecution, there is no evidence that self-defense or gang activity played a role in the assault.
Under the plea deal, each defendant waived his right to a speedy trial, to testify on his own behalf, and the right to call witnesses to testify on his behalf. Their not-guilty pleas mean they face lesser sentences than the 15 years they could have received for second-degree murder.
When commenting on the change of plea following the hearing, Romero’s attorney Neil Levinson said that “looking at all of the circumstances, this was the best way to resolve the case.” A trial on the matter, he said, would present “risks for both sides” and that the plea deal was “the right way to solve this case, and the fair way to resolve it.”
Medina will serve six years in state prison. Medina’s plea deal included an admission that the assault was a violation of his probation in an earlier second-degree commercial burglary felony charge. It also reduces that former felony charge to a misdemeanor, terminates his current probation, and dismisses a misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest on September 19, 2013. He will be sentenced on March 10.
Andrade will serve a minimum three-year sentence, with a maximum of six years. Though Andrade was also facing three additional felony charges — burglary and methamphetamine possession — these charges are unlikely to add any time to his sentence due to the passage of Proposition 47 last year, the state law reducing the classification of most lower-level property and drug crimes from a felony to a misdemeanor. For a previous probation violation on a misdemeanor trespassing charge, Andrade was sentenced to 90 days in jail, but credited with time served.
Romero will also serve three to six years. He and Andrade will be sentenced on March 9. All defendants may be ordered to pay restitution to the victim’s family at the time of sentencing.