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Fort Bragg man who killed his alleged abuser gets nine years in prison

June 15, 2010 |  1:25 pm
Aaron Vargas, who shot to death the man who allegedly molested and stalked him for two decades, was sentenced Tuesday to nine years in state prison, according to Mendocino County Dist. Atty. Meredith Lintott.

After Vargas shot Darrell McNeill, 63, in his Fort Bragg trailer on Feb. 8, 2009, in front of McNeill’s wife, about a dozen other alleged victims came forward, and residents of the struggling former logging town rose up in support of Vargas.

Vargas, 32, was initially charged with first-degree murder but pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter earlier this year. As part of the plea bargain, he could have received a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. His family and many of his supporters had hoped that he would be released on probation, arguing that he had been punished enough.

But during two days of testimony in Ukiah, Lintott said, the probation officer recommended that Vargas be sentenced to 21 years in state prison.

-- Maria L. La Ganga in San Francisco