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Man Ordered to Stand Trial in Off-Duty Sheriff's Killing

Prosecutors allege that Armando "Chivo" Albarran was sitting in the back seat of the gunman's car at the time of the shooting.

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.

One of six people charged in connection with the shooting death of an off-duty Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy nearly six years ago was ordered today to stand trial.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ronald S. Coen found sufficient evidence to require Armando "Chivo" Albarran, 31, to proceed to trial in connection with the Aug. 2, 2008, killing of sheriff's Deputy Juan Abel Escalante.

Albarran was extradited from Mexico in December 2012 in connection with the killing of Escalante, a 27-year-old former U.S. Army reservist who was shot to death as he prepared to leave his parents' home in the Cypress Park neighborhood of Los Angeles for his morning shift at Men's Central Jail.

Prosecutors allege that Albarran was sitting in the back seat of the gunman's car at the time of the shooting.

Four others have already been convicted of charges stemming from Escalante's killing, which Deputy District Attorney John Colello previously called a "gang-driven crime."

Escalante -- a father of three -- was not in uniform when he was gunned down, authorities said.

The gunman, Carlos Javier "Stoney" Velasquez, was immediately sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole upon pleading guilty in October 2012 to first-degree murder and admitting a special circumstance allegation that Escalante's murder was carried out to further the activities of a criminal street gang. He also pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Two other defendants pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter.

Arnoldo Pineda -- who was sentenced to 14 years in prison -- testified in April 2010 that he was ordered at gunpoint to drive to the Cypress Park neighborhood.

Guillermo Hernandez, who was sitting in the back seat of the car, was sentenced to 21 years in state prison.

A fifth defendant, Jose Renteria, was convicted last year of first- degree murder and sentenced in March 2013 to life in prison without the possibility of parole for supplying Velasquez with the handgun used in the killing.

A sixth man, Roberto Salazar, is still being sought.

—City News Service

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