A Tijuana resident who gunned down a man at a Quinceanera celebration in Escondido more than 22 years ago to avenge an earlier killing in Mexico was sentenced Tuesday to eight years in state prison.
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Vicente Flores Benites, 51, was convicted in October of voluntary manslaughter in the May 20, 1989, death of 41-year-old Margarito Navarette.
Benites killed Navarette after showing up univited, along with his then-38-year-old cousin, Epifanio Flores, at a birthday party for a 15-year-old girl at a house in the 700 block of East Pennsylvania Avenue.
Flores stabbed Navarette and fled, and Benites then shot the victim and ran off, according to Escondido police and prosecutors.
Officers arrested Flores several blocks away minutes later, but Benites escaped, police said.
Flores pleaded guilty a month later to assault with a deadly weapon and was sentenced to a two-year prison term.
According to Escondido police, there were several dozen people at the party who said they saw Navarette being shot at point-blank range several times while the unarmed victim was seated on a sofa.
The assailants held the victim responsible for the slaying of Benites' brother in Mexico several years earlier, authorities said following the Escondido homicide.
Five years ago, cold-case detectives traced Benites to an address in Tijuana. Benites was arrested in Tijuana in May 2010 by Mexican police, who handed the defendant over to American authorities following extradition proceedings.
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