Man gets 15 to life for machete killing of family friend

Posted at 11:45 AM, Sep 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-02 14:45:52-04
SAN DIEGO -- A 22-year-old man who hacked a close family friend to death with a machete during an argument at a Rolando home last year was sentenced Friday to 15 years to life in state prison.
Vincent Salas Garza pleaded guilty in June to second-degree murder in the death of 43-year-old Vincente Carrera.
The attack almost severed the victim's head from his body.
"(This was) a brutal, vicious attack for no reason," Deputy District Attorney David McNees told Judge Kathleen Lewis.
Defense attorney Manuel Avitia said Garza regrets his actions. But the prosecutor noted that when asked if he had any remorse for killing Carrera, Garza told a probation officer, "Not really."
The judge called Garza "a very scary individual" and a "sociopath."
McNees said Carrera was listed on Garza's birth certificate as his father, but DNA proved that not to be the case. Carrera had a long, ongoing relationship with Garza's mother and aunt, the prosecutor said.
Garza lived at the home on Waite Street with others and Carrera was a regular visitor, according to the prosecutor.
Carrera's body was found in an enclosed back patio the morning of Nov. 6. Investigators believe he was killed around 10 the night before, but the nature of the argument that led to his death was not clear.
McNees said Garza delivered a fatal blow to the back of the victim's head and other blows to Carrera's face. A machete was recovered at the scene. The prosecutor said there was no evidence of self-defense, saying the victim was attacked from behind.
Police said Garza changed clothes after the killing and fled to Phoenix, Arizona, where he was arrested a week later.
In a police bulletin issued last November, Garza was described as a heavy methamphetamine user who was known to be violent and carry knives.