Daniel Rubin Gallegos, 49, and Gustavo Nunez Jr., 34, both transients, were sentenced on Friday for the beating and fatal stabbing of Cesar Gamaliel Gonzalez, 39, near the entrance to Santiago Park. Gonzalez was stabbed six times and had numerous lacerations to his face.
A third transient, Lisa Marie Herrera, 43, is also charged with assault with a deadly weapon but will be tried at a later date.
The attack on Gonzalez happened on March 21, 2020, at a vacant dilapidated former bank building at 2525 N. Main St. in Santa Ana. That building should have been replaced by a luxury apartment complex but that project was blocked by NIMBYs in the adjacent Park Santiago Neighborhood.
Gallegos, Nunez and Herrera were part of a group of transients who were squatting at the vacant building. The three of them were motivated to attack Gonzalez, who was also a squatter at that building, by false rumors that he had raped a girl.
When SAPD police officers arrived at the crime scene they found the wounded Gonzalez, who said his attackers had fled into the abandoned office building. He also told the police officers that, “I didn’t rape nobody,” according to the prosecutor.
Gallegos was convicted in July, 2021 of first-degree murder with a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a deadly weapon, and was sentenced to 51 years to life in prison.
Nunez was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon and was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.
The vacant building at 2525 N. Main St. was demolished a while ago. Now it is an unsanctioned skate park popular with local skateboarders. A developer is now trying to build townhomes on that site but the same NIMBYs who opposed the proposed luxury apartments are likewise up in arms over the proposed townhome development.