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Man pleads no contest in fatal shooting of L.A. County sheriff's deputy in Cypress Park

September 14, 2010 | 11:47 am

One of five men charged in the murder of an off-duty Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy in Cypress Park pleaded no contest Tuesday to voluntary manslaughter, authorities said.

Arnoldo Pineda, 29, has agreed to cooperate with prosecutors and testify in the case in exchange for a sentence of 14 years in prison, said Deputy Dist. Atty. John Colello.

Colello said Pineda drove the vehicle that was used in the shooting but that investigators believe he was forced to drive at gunpoint.

Pineda is expected to testify against two other defendants -- including the accused gunman, Carlos Javier Velasquez, an alleged member of the Avenues gang -- at a preliminary hearing next week.

Deputy Juan Abel Escalante, 27, who worked at the Men's Central Jail guarding some of the county's most dangerous inmates, was shot several times Aug. 2, 2008, outside his parents' Cypress Park home as he prepared to leave for work.

-- Jack Leonard

Click to visit The Times' interactive Homicide Report