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A gang member from San Leandro was sentenced today to 74 years to life in state prison for murdering a man whose body was found in a burning house in unincorporated Hayward last November and for attempting to murder a second man a week earlier. Alex Olachea, 28, was sentenced to 40 years to life by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Kevin Murphy for the death of 32-year-old Ryan Casias of Hayward at the house at 21843 Princeton St. on Nov. 27. Olachea also was sentenced 32 years to life for premeditated attempted murder for shooting a man in unincorporated Hayward on Nov. 20 because he thought the man had disrespected his girlfriend. In addition, Olachea was sentenced to two years for being a felon in possession of a gun. At the time of the shootings, Olachea was on both parole and probation for previous crimes and had a GPS tracking device attached to his ankle because authorities had deemed him to be a high-risk gang offender, according to prosecutor John Brouhard, who specializes in gang-related cases.
The investigation into Casias’ death began when firefighters responded to reports of a fire at the Princeton Street residence at about 7:50 a.m. on Nov. 29. When firefighters put out the blaze, they discovered Casias’ dead body inside the house and turned the matter over to sheriff’s investigators, who treated the death as a homicide. An autopsy later revealed that Casias died as a result of foul play, sheriff’s Sgt. J.D. Nelson said. Casias was identified through dental records and authorities determined that he died after a single gunshot struck his upper back and punctured his lung. Brouhard said evidence in the case indicated that Olachea killed Casias on Nov. 27 and then arranged to have other people set the residence on fire two days later to try to cover up the murder. He said investigators never determined why Olachea killed Casias. The victim in the Nov. 20 shooting underwent emergency surgery and survived his injuries. Olachea’s attorney, Barbara Thomas, declined to comment on his case or the sentencing.
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