A Petaluma man awaiting trial in a marijuana rip-off slaying pleaded guilty Thursday to first-degree murder in a deal that will allow him a chance at parole.
Fernando Lopez-Castillo, 27, admitted being the shooter in the 2011 killing of Jose Manual DeJesus during the robbery of 20 pounds of pot outside Carniceria Contreras on Todd Road in Santa Rosa.
He could have received life in prison without parole if he had been convicted at trial but instead will be sentenced to 50 years to life.
His lawyer, Erik Bruce, said he will be eligible for parole in about 46 years. His sentencing is Sept. 16.
The plea bargain was reached as both sides were selecting a jury.
Lopez-Castillo is the last of four defendants to be convicted in the case. Jose Caraballo-Mejias and Alberto Lopez-Barraza were convicted by a jury of first-degree murder and received life without parole.
Lopez-Castillo's brother, Ramon Lopez-Castillo, admitted his role and was sentenced to 25 years to life.
Shelters for Pawnee fire evacuees
Lower Lake High School, 9430 Lake St., Lower Lake, is the official shelter established for people evacuating from the Pawnee fire. It is equipped to handle animals.
The Clearlake Oaks Moose Lodge, 15900 E. Highway 20, Clearlake Oaks, is not authorized by the Office of Emergency Services but is also sheltering fire evacuees, mostly people in campers and RVs who want their animals with them.
There is an authorized Lake County animal services station in an open field at Highway 53 and Anderson Ridge Road in Lower Lake.