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Two men sentenced to life in Healdsburg pot garden killing

  • Employees from the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office Coroner's removal service with the help of Deputy Sheriff Bryan Jensen, right, at the scene of the Healdsburg killing in 2011. (PD FILE, 2011)

Two men convicted of second-degree murder for a 2011 slaying in a rural Healdsburg marijuana garden were sentenced to life in prison Tuesday.

Judge Gary Medvigy described defendant Sidonio Cruz-Santos, 36, of Santa Rosa as the one in charge of the pot cultivation and who was calling the shots when violence broke out, Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch said.

Cruz-Santos and co-defendant Augustin Zepeda-Onofre, 25, of Windsor were partying Oct. 16, 2011 near the garden off Chemise Road in the Dry Creek Valley when one of them shot and killed the brother-in-law of a man they hired to tend the pot.

A Sonoma County jury May 7 found the men guilty in the shooting death of Gabino Lopez-Santiago, 46, of Healdsburg.

On Tuesday, Medvigy handed Sidonio Cruz-Santos 15 years to life in prison for the killing and an additional 26 years for three counts of assault with a firearm, felony cultivation and persuading a witness by force.

Zepeda-Onofre will serve 25 years to life for the killing, assault with a firearm and felony cultivation, said his attorney, Chief Deputy Public Defender Kristine Burk.

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