BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A Kern County jury convicted a man of murder for shooting a man who told him to leave his family’s property.
The jury on Friday found Alvaro Cruz guilty of first-degree murder in the killing of Narciso Martinez. Cruz, 49, faces up to 50 years to life in prison.
The shooting happened the morning of June 9 of last year when Cruz returned to a ranch west of Wasco where he had previously rented property but was forced to leave for failing to pay rent, according to prosecutors.
Martinez, whose family owned the ranch, spotted Cruz and approached him while Martinez’s cousin and girlfriend waited in a nearby orchard. He yelled at Cruz to leave.
As Martinez approached, Cruz got in his SUV and reversed it, forcing Martinez to step aside to avoid being hit, prosecutors said in a news release. Martinez then stood next to the driver side door and again told Cruz to leave.
Cruz drew a gun and fired three shots, hitting Martinez in the chest and stomach, prosecutors said. Martinez took a few steps then collapsed.
Cruz drove his SUV through a gate and across a field as Martinez’s cousin and girlfriend called 911, according to the release. DNA evidence, aerial photographs and eyewitness information linked Cruz to the shooting, prosecutors said.
Sentencing is set for July 14.