BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A 26-year-old man has pleaded no contest to second-degree murder in the 2020 stabbing death of a Foothill High student.

Jason Cruz entered the no-contest plea Wednesday and faces 15 years to life in prison at his June sentencing, prosecutors said. Cruz had faced a first-degree murder charge.

Cruz was arrested in early 2020 for the stabbing death of 17-year-old Jose Flores.

According to court documents, Cruz admitted stabbing Flores during a melee that began after a confrontation at a bus stop near the school on Jan. 21, 2020, as students were leaving for the day.

Cruz told investigators he received a text message from an unknown number saying a student was going to get “jumped.” He said the student, believed to be a relative, had previously been bullied at school. 

After Cruz arrived at a bus stop near the school, the teen identified a group of students who he said were bullying him, according to the documents. Cruz told deputies he confronted the students.

One of the teens started punching him, Cruz said in the documents. Cruz said he pulled a folding knife and stabbed the teen — later identified as Flores — at least three times.

Other students attacked Cruz and he fell, Cruz said. The fight broke up after motorists started honking horns. Cruz got up and noticed his shoulder bleeding from an apparent stab wound, according to the documents. He said he didn’t know who stabbed him.