A Vista teenager who admitted killing a man and seriously injuring another in a gang clash in a public park was sentenced to more than 24 years in California state prison yesterday, May 21.
Cristian Constanti Garcia turned 17 last February and has been held in custody in lieu of $2 million bail since November of 2012.
It was after 10 p.m. on November 10, 2012, that a confrontation between two groups at Brengle Terrace Park in Vista resulted in two men with stab wounds.
Antonio Canseco, 24, and Martin Hernandez, 21, arrived at nearby Tri-City Medical Center that night. “The two victims had been brought to the hospital in a vehicle which drove away after dropping them off,” according to a sheriff’s statement. Hernandez survived, Canseco did not; both men were from Oceanside.
Garcia was 15 years old when he was charged with murder, as an adult. He recently pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of manslaughter and admitted gang allegations and personally using a knife, in both attacks. The weapon was a small pocket-knife, according to a deputy district attorney, who also stated that Garcia had a prior “juvenile record.”
Prosecutor Cal Logan read a statement from an aunt of Antonio Canseco, stating, “We will never get our Tony back” and “Justice needs to be served.” There were nine tearful family members in court for the sentencing.
The judge ordered Garcia to pay $5000 to the victim’s restitution board to compensate Canseco’s family for funeral expenses.
Judge Carlos Armour remarked on “another senseless loss of life” before he ordered the young man to begin serving his sentence of 24 years and 8 months in the Department of Juvenile Justice, until Garcia turns 18, and then he is to be transferred to state prison.
The judge noted that Garcia has 630 days of “custody credits” so far.