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Son of former Assembly Speaker gets 16 years for stabbing death [Updated]

June 25, 2010 |  5:21 pm

The son of former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez was sentenced Friday to 16 years in prison in the 2008 stabbing death of a college student in San Diego.

Esteban Nuñez, 21, had pleaded guilty to manslaughter and assault, in exchange for a murder charge being dropped.

A co-defendant, Ryan Jett, 24, was also sentenced to 16 years by Superior Court Judge Robert O'Neill. Sixteen years was the maximum sentence.

Two other co-defendants are set to be sentenced later this afternoon.

The sentencing came after emotional testimony by the family of Luis Santos, a 22-year-old student at San Diego Mesa College, who was fatally stabbed in the heart Oct. 4, 2008, in a street near San Diego State University.

Nuñez, Jett and the two co-defendants, after a night of drinking, set upon Santos in anger after being rebuffed in their attempt to crash a fraternity party. The judge said Jett started the street fight that left Santos dead and three of his friends injured.

Nuñez's father, a prominent Los Angeles Democrat, was in the packed courtroom when his son was sentenced.

[Updated at 5:20 p.m.: Sentencing for co-defendants Rafael Garcia, 21, and Leshanor Thomas, 21, was delayed until next Friday, at the request of their attorneys.

Garcia pleaded guilty to conspiracy to destroy evidence and faces a maximum prison sentence of three years. Thomas pleaded guilty to assault and conspiracy and faces a maximum of five years.

The four young men had gone to San Diego from Sacramento for a weekend of partying. After returning to Northern California, they allegedly burned their bloody clothing and threw away the knife used in the attack.]

-- Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: Esteban Nuñez reacts after being sentenced for his role in the death of Luis Santos.

Credit: K.C. Alfred / San Diego Union-Tribune