By Gabriel Eskandari
SACRAMENTO, CA – A plea deal was reached in Sacramento County Superior Court Monday between the prosecution and Manuel Delarosa regarding a shooting in the Arden Fair Mall parking lot and a felony drug charge—codefendant Josephine Sandoval also agreed to a plea in the drug charge.
According to Deputy District Attorney Jordan Avey, Delarosa committed an assault with a firearm on Oct. 15, 2020, at the Arden Fair Mall parking lot.
The DDA stated that the security camera showed a “male adult with tattoos on his arms” shooting at two vehicles after exiting in a white Chevy Impala with a black and silver handgun.
DDA Avey said Delarosa arrived at his probation officer’s office five days later, and was identified by him as a suspect based on his matching tattoos.
This led to a probation search of Delarosa’s home where a matching gun was found and the Impala was seen to have dents and chips matching the car in the surveillance video, according to DDA Avey.
Regarding the drug charge, DDA Avey noted that both Delarosa and Sandoval unlawfully possessed cocaine for sale, and that officers found two separate bags with 6.3 and 8.3 grams of cocaine in Sandoval’s residence.
DDA Avey stated that if this case were taken to trial, narcotics experts in the purposes for sales would testify that the drugs were intended for sale.
Also, DDA Avey said Sandoval and other witnesses said that Delarosa also lived and slept at that residence, and that there was also a loaded gun found in the vehicle there.
Court-appointed Counsel Carmen Butler, representing Delarosa, argued the person in the vehicle that Delarosa had allegedly shot at had displayed a firearm to Delarosa.
Also, CAC Butler stated that there was only a single shot, not multiple shots at multiple vehicles. Lastly, Butler noted the handgun was found in the bedroom, not the vehicle.
Court Appointed Counsel Michael Favero, representing Sandoval, explained Sandoval was willing to stipulate only to the facts necessary to support the plea.
Delarosa then pleaded no contest to felony assault with a firearm and to unlawfully possessing cocaine for sale. He is set to receive four years in prison for the first charge and one concurrent year for the second.
Sandoval pleaded no contest to unlawfully possessing cocaine for sale, and will receive a split sentence of six months in custody and 18 months in mandatory supervision, and will need to take a 52-week parenting class.
For Delarosa, CAC Butler asked for his sentencing to be scheduled in two to three weeks. She stated that Delarosa was employed, that he has been out on bond for over a year, and that they have been in close contact ever since she took over his case.
Butler then read a character reference letter written by an acquaintance of Delarosa to the court. Butler said the letter had been read to the DDA and she believed it helped them reach the plea agreement:
“During our constant interactions, which include deep conversations about religion as well as personal experiences and intellectual growth, I’ve come to understand that who he has become in comparison to who he used to be, all that remains is the physical shell of who he once was, meaning that the person inside the shell is completely different and in search for redemption,” read the letter.
The letter went on to state that Delarosa had adapted to the dangerous and impoverished environment he was raised in, that Delarosa expressed great remorse, and that he was changing for the better.
“This however is not a letter of justification, but rather of acknowledgment and also of celebration that a person, despite the hardship and obstacles, as well as adaptation of a criminal lifestyle, can learn and aspire to do and be better if allowed to discover if there is such a thing,” further stated the letter.
DDA Avey argued against putting the sentencing weeks out, stating that the two cases at hand were serious, that Delarosa had not been cooperative with the police when questioned about the shooting, and that he denied driving an Impala despite the evidence, and that there was a flight risk due to the significant four-year sentence.
In regard to the drug case, DDA Avey stated that although Delarosa is only pleading to the drug charge, he was also charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm and that he was on probation when this occurred, so she did not have confidence Delarosa would follow the rules of law if not remanded. DDA Avey also mentioned that he has three felonies on his record.
CAC Butler responded by stating that Delarosa had been out on a $220,000 bond for what she believed was almost a year, and he has had no further interaction with the law during that time.
Butler also said that Delarosa indicated to her that because his brother, who was in the military, had been the one to pay for his bond, he would not subject his brother to that type of loss by fleeing.
Ultimately, Judge Laurie M. Earl ruled to remand Delarosa: “This is a very serious case, I am going to exonerate his bond and order him into custody at this time.”
Sandoval surrendered herself into custody, and the judge exonerated her bond as well.
Both will be held with no bail, pending judgment and sentence, which is set for Dec. 17 at 1:35 p.m. in Dept. 62.