A 20-year-old Port Hueneme man who pleaded guilty Tuesday to second-degree murder and use of a firearm in connection with a December slaying at a Ventura motel faces 18 years to life in state prison.
Deputy Dist. Atty. Matthew J. Hardy said Steven Higaldo's case is the classic story of a young man who wound up in trouble with the law because he decided to hang around with people who used guns.
Higaldo and four others were charged in connection with the killing of Paul Martinez of Los Angeles. He was gunned down on the second-floor balcony at Motel 6 on Johnson Drive.
Martinez, 21, had apparently engaged in a brief argument with his assailants, whom he did not know, shortly before he was killed.
"It's pathetic and tragic," Hardy said when asked for his reaction to Higaldo's involvement in the killing. "What you have is a kid thinking it's cool to follow some older guys and have a gun . . . and he's going to pay for it the rest of his life."
Higaldo's plea came before his scheduled arraignment Tuesday.
Two Oxnard brothers charged with murder in the shooting--Shaun Bolo, 20, and Willard Bolo, 23--pleaded not guilty Tuesday and were ordered to stand trial Nov. 14. Two other defendants--19-year-old Naomi Honohan of Port Hueneme and Alfonso Cortez, 21, of Oxnard--face charges of accessory to murder.