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Man Is Sentenced in His Cousin's Killing : Santa Paula: Arturo Tellez receives a term of 29 years to life. The shooting stemmed from a family feud.


A Santa Paula man was sentenced to 29 years to life Friday for killing his cousin as part of a long-running family feud that boiled over because the victim had bought a new pickup truck.

Arturo M. Tellez, 27, was convicted of one count of second-degree murder and one count of attempted murder.

His brother, Jesus Tellez, 21, earlier was convicted of first-degree murder for driving the getaway car during the double shootings, which occurred at Teague Park in Santa Paula in June, 1991. Jesus Tellez was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.

The pair killed Javier Tellez Garcia, 27, and seriously injured another cousin, Jose Tellez Vasquez, 32.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Carol J. Nelson said the shooting evolved from a family dispute after some relatives of Javier Tellez Garcia burned his new truck in Mexico. Javier Garcia reported the incident to local Mexican authorities, and one of the two Tellez brothers was arrested and jailed for several months over the incident. She did not specify which one went to jail.

The brothers, Nelson said, went looking for their victims for revenge at Teague Park the day of the shootings.

"They drive up to these victims and go, Kapow! Kapow! Kapow!" Nelson said.

"The very strange thing about this case is it was in a public park," the prosecutor said. "The adults were scrambling for cover, but the children--because of television-- were standing there transfixed."

Both of the brothers disappeared for a year after the shootings. But earlier this year, Jesus Tellez was arrested in Texas and Arturo Tellez was apprehended in Denver.

In court, Deputy Public Defender Joseph Lax asked Superior Court Judge Allan L. Steele to run the sentences for Arturo Tellez concurrently.

"Both shootings occurred in the park within several feet of each other, within a few seconds of each other," Lax said. "It was a continuous act."

But Nelson said that when Arturo Tellez shot Javier Tellez Garcia "he had ample time to say, 'OK, I had my vengeance.' " Instead, she said, he had to seek out Jose Tellez Vasquez before shooting him several times as well, including once in the left eye.

Even though he drove the getaway car and did not do the shooting, Jesus Tellez was convicted of first-degree murder. The jury in his case believed the shootings were premeditated.

Jurors in Arturo Tellez's trial, however, did not believe the shootings were planned.

"I think it was exactly the appropriate sentences given for the verdicts," Nelson said.

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