A Sonoma man was sentenced to 21 years in prison this morning for fatally shooting a Penngrove man who was working on stereo equipment in his home two years ago. Salvador Camargo, 28, pleaded no contest in April to voluntary manslaughter of 52-year-old Kenneth Swolley. Swolley was fixing stereo equipment in the Arnold Drive house where Camargo was renting a room May 9, 2009.
Camargo shot Swolley in the head at close range and disposed of the firearm in a nearby vineyard pond. Dive teams from Sonoma and Solano counties recovered the weapon. Camargo was arrested at a Pueblo Drive home about three miles away after he asked a woman to call 9-1-1 because someone was trying to kill him, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office said.
Camargo was found mentally incompetent to stand trial and was sent to Napa State Hospital. A Sonoma County grand jury indicted him for the murder in January 2010 and he pleaded not guilty and not guilty by reason if insanity. The Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office agreed to the plea agreement with Camargo because of mental health evaluations and his drug use around the time of the murder, District Attorney Jill Ravitch said.
Swolley’s family members remembered their brother and cousin as a talented baseball player, salesman, manager of seven businesses, horse lover. “This was a horrific, uncalled for, unnecessary crime,” Swolley’s brother Johnny said. “You murdered an innocent man who was helping you in your house,” Swolley’s cousin Denise Hurlbert said in court. Camargo’s attorney Charles Ogulnik said his client is remorseful but did not want to address Swolley’s family. “He can’t express in words how he feels,” Ogulnik said. Ogulnik said Camargo was caring and protective of his young sisters and he blames himself for his actions.
Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Gary Medvigy said the 21-year sentencing agreement is in the interest because of Camargo’s mental health and substance abuse. Medvigy said drugs are a scourge on society and there was no reason or excuse for the homicide. Camargo has two years and four months credit for time already served.
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