HAYWARD — Two men arrested in connection with a Hayward fatal stabbing — one charged with murder, the other with accessory — accepted plea deals, court records show.

Javier Melgoza, 25, pleaded no contest to murder, but prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed he was legally insane when he fatally stabbed 42-year-old Jason Jeffrey Villegas to death in August 2016. Jesse Quinonez, 32, pleaded no contest to accessory and was sentenced to time already served, records show.

Melgoza was arrested after three children who witnessed the stabbing identified him. Quinonez — who drove Melgoza away from the scene of the stabbing — eventually told police that he believed Melgoza was just hitting Villegas during an argument and didn’t realize he had a knife, authorities said in court records.

At Melgoza’s sentencing earlier this year, Erica Ojeda — who identified herself as the mother of Villegas’ child — described telling her daughter that her father had been killed.

“I’ll never forget her face when she heard me tell her that her daddy went to heaven,” Ojeda said. She later added, “They were best buddies. She adored him just as much as he adored her. She was a daddy’s girl. He has already missed many accomplishment and milestones in her life, and he’ll never be there for her as a father should be for their daughter.”

Melgoza’s attorney, Seth Morris, described the case as a tragic and said his client is “severely mentally ill.” He said Melgoza had been placed in an involuntary psychiatric hold months before the stabbing.

“He was so mentally ill at the time of the incident, that two court-appointed doctors opined that he was not guilty by reason of insanity. Legally, that means that as a result of his mental illness or disorder, he could not, at the time of the incident, distinguish between right …read more

Source:: East Bay – Entertainment


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