Eleven years after Carpinteria resident Matthew Prock fatally stabbed 23-year-old Eddie Vasquez at an AM/PM gas station, Prock, for the second time, was found guilty of second-degree murder. This most recent trial, held over the last few weeks, was the result of a reversed conviction because of improper jury instructions.
The altercation between the two men occurred just after midnight on May 16, 2000, as Prock brushed into Vasquez and his friend Justin Rosenberger while leaving the minimart. After unpleasantries were exchanged on both ends, Prock went home, at which point Vasquez and his friends believed the incident to be over. Returning some moments later with a knife, Prock stabbed the unsuspecting Vasquez in the chest and hastily fled the scene. In 2001, Prock was sentenced to 16 years to life by a Ventura judge.
After swift deliberation a final guilty verdict for second-degree murder was reached. Prock did not take the stand in his own defense, as he did in the first trial.
Vasquez’s brother, German Sotelo, four years his elder, was composed but still visibly pained by the loss. He offered a few reflections on the proceedings, the attacker, and his brother.
“I thought the trial was prosecuted thoroughly. It was as it should have been,” he said shortly after court was dismissed Tuesday. In the days before the second trial, Sotelo was anxious that the previous verdict might be overturned. “I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous.”
When asked his thoughts on his brother’s killer, Sotelo was more baffled by the man’s motives than angered. “He had a family; there was a little girl” he said. “He should have just stayed at home.”
German spoke highly of his younger brother. “He was a fun, happy person. [He] really enjoyed life. He was the head of the family.”
Prock will be sentenced next month.