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Son of ex-legislator Fabian Nunez to be sentenced in 2008 stabbing death

June 25, 2010 |  7:43 am


The son of former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez is to be sentenced Friday for the 2008 stabbing death of a college student in San Diego.

Esteban Nunez, 21, pleaded guilty in May to voluntary manslaughter and assault in the Oct. 4, 2008, death of Luis Santos, 21, a student at San Diego Mesa College.

San Diego Superior Court Judge Robert O'Neill, in accepting the guilty plea on May 5, indicated he favored giving Nunez a prison sentence but not the maximum of 16 years.

Three co-defendants also pleaded guilty. One of them, Rafael Garcia, 21, also is to be sentenced Friday.

Nunez pleaded guilty on the eve of trial. In exchange for his plea, prosecutors dropped a murder charge.

Dist. Atty. Bonnie Dumanis explained that in pleading guilty to two felonies, Nunez and Garcia would each have two strikes. Another felony, either in prison or after their release, could result in a sentence of 25 years to life.

According to court documents, Nunez and the three others, after a night of heavy drinking, set upon Santos in anger after being rejected from attending a fraternity party.

Nunez later boasted to his friends that his father, a prominent Democrat from Los Angeles, would use his influence to keep them from facing charges, also according to documents.

-- Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: Esteban Nunez, left, and three co-defendants at arraignment in 2008. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times