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By Tom Ferrall
Village News Staff Writer 

Sentencing date is March 27 for trio convicted in Fallbrook murder


Last updated 1/2/2018 at 11:48am

Kevin Garcia, Tyler Dean and Ryan Valdez, the three alleged Fallbrook gang members that were convicted of murder earlier this month at the North County Superior Court in Vista, are scheduled to receive their sentences March 27.

The trio was found guilty by a jury of second-degree murder in the stabbing death of Hugh Pettigrew III, who was attacked while walking along the 400 block of Ammunition Road at approximately 10:45 p.m. Jan. 22, 2016.

The assault, unprovoked, led the jury to find that the three defendants had committed the attack in furtherance of their Fallbrook gang.

According to Deputy District Attorney Christine Bannon, Dean, who has a strike on his record, faces 31 years to life in prison. Garcia is facing 16 years to life and Valdez is looking at 15 years to life.

Dean, 27, and Garcia, 23, have both previously served time in prison. Valdez, 20, has no prior prison record.

Pettigrew was walking from a fast-food restaurant to a family member’s apartment on Alturas Road when he was assaulted and repeatedly stabbed. Pettigrew, a 33-year-old black man who stood about 6 feet, 8 inches and weighed more than 400 pounds, managed to make it to the apartment before collapsing. Emergency medical personnel rushed Pettigrew to a hospital, where he died 18 days later.

Video surveillance from nearby businesses led homicide detectives to the three men charged and convicted. An attempt by the District Attorney's Office to charge the trio with a hate crime – the victim was black and the suspects were affiliated with a Latino gang – was rejected by a judge last year.

Garcia is locked up at the George Bailey Detention Facility in San Diego, Dean is behind bars at the South Bay Detention Facility in Chula Vista, and Valdez is jailed at the Vista Detention Facility in Vista.


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