A man convicted of killing his estranged wife’s lover and attempting to kill his wife was sentenced to 80 years and four months to life in prison on Wednesday.
The ruling, issued by Kern County Superior Court Judge Gary Friedman, came after 40-year-old Rigoberto Sanchez was convicted last month of killing 33-year-old Edwin Lima in May 2017. He was also convicted of attempted murder, shooting at an inhabited dwelling, assault with a firearm and burglary.
“We’re very pleased with the sentencing,” said Deputy District Attorney Gina Pearl, the prosecutor in the case. “There were a lot of different pieces to this story. Putting the case together was somewhat difficult, but we were able to do it with the help of law enforcement. We felt we had a strong case.”
Sanchez’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender Paul Cadman, declined media interviews following the sentencing. The families of Sanchez and Lima also declined to comment.
Sanchez, a former correctional officer at the California Correctional Institution in Tehachapi, shot and killed Lima through the master bedroom window of his wife’s apartment in northeast Bakersfield, according to court documents. He was shot 17 times.
In court, Sanchez testified that Lima had pulled out a gun and was about to fire it at him when Sanchez fired in self defense. He said his wife then picked up the gun Lima had dropped after being struck and raised it. Sanchez shot at his wife but missed her.
Pearl said that didn’t match the evidence, as Lima was found to have been shot in his back and the back of his head.
Sanchez fled to Mexico after the shooting to stay at an uncle’s house. However, he was arrested weeks later by Mexican law enforcement.
Cadman said Sanchez had a heated phone call with Lima prior to going to the residence and that he only intended to fight him. Pearl said there was no evidence that exchange had taken place and believed both Lima and Sanchez’s wife were in the bedroom and had no idea Sanchez was outside.
The prosecution found Sanchez guilty on all counts. The jury believed the murder had been sparked by Sanchez’s anger and jealousy due to his wife moving on after they had separated. Sanchez, his wife and Lima worked as correctional officers in Tehachapi.
“I think the evidence really showed the jury how much this defendant thought about (the attack), how much he planned it, how much he deliberated,” Pearl said.
Cadman said in the sentencing hearing that he will be filing an appeal of the case to the court.