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2 men in June 2010 gang fight get 2 years in jail

Diaz, Gonzalez also received 6 years probation

POSTED: April 12, 2011 12:19 a.m.

A Hall County judge sentenced two more men for their confessed roles in a gang fight last summer that resulted in the death of Daniel Adame.

Efrain Diaz and Guadalupe Gonzalez both pleaded guilty on Feb. 1 to fighting as members of criminal street gangs.

On Monday, the men and former rivals sat at the defense table together and faced Superior Court Judge Jason J. Deal.

He delivered punishments that mirrored recommendations made by Assistant District Attorney Wanda Vance, who asked for eight-year sentences in each case, with two of those to be served in custody and the rest taking place on probation.

The fight they confessed to happened around 5 a.m. on June 13, 2010, outside Lenox Park Apartments in Gainesville. Nine men were indicted in total.

Sentences for Diaz and Gonzalez were postponed until several related cases were completed, including Juan Villanueva.

Villanueva was the only person charged in Adame’s death. He confessed to driving a van into Adame, who died from his injuries, and Fernando Acosta, who survived. On March 22, Deal sentenced Villanueva to 25 years, with 10 of those to take place in prison.

Before the judge addressed Diaz and Gonzalez, their defense attorneys related details about the men and their cases.

Gonzalez had never been arrested before the fight and is half way through earning his GED, attorney Craig Page said. He also fulfilled his plea agreement and testified in trials involving other co-defendants, Page added.

Attorney Les Aiken spoke in detail about his client Diaz, the only man who had been in prison on gang fighting charges since his arrest last June.

Diaz was recruited to join BOE 23 at age 12. Though he associated with friends connected to the gang, Diaz did not consider himself a member on the night of the fight outside Lenox Park Apartments.

He had an argument with his girlfriend, went to stay with family and then friends when another co-defendant Wilson Almendares, who also confessed, called him for support in the fight.

“There is no evidence that (Diaz) threw a punch or instigated this,” Aiken said. “This was a situation of fate. Any other night he’d be with his girlfriend.”

Diaz, a native of Mexico, is scheduled to be deported, lawyers said. With the time he has served credited to his sentence, Diaz soon will face immigration officials.

“I think that should essentially put you in federal custody,” Deal said, nodding.

The last defendant to be prosecuted in the case, Juan Acosta, withdrew his guilty plea following the jury trial involving his older brother, Fernando Acosta, who was found not guilty.

Juan Acosta re-entered a plea of not guilty by reason of mental incompetence to stand trial, court documents show. A hearing is scheduled in that case later this month.



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