General Crime

Alberto “Trigger” Cortez Gets 50 Years To Life In Prison In 2011 Slaying Of Pedestrian

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A judge in Monterey County Superior Court sentenced a 22-year-old gang member to 50 years to life in prison Wednesday for the execution-style murder of a pedestrian in Castroville in 2011, a prosecutor said.

Judge Pamela Butler rendered the sentence on defendant Alberto “Trigger” Cortez, of Castroville, from his conviction on first-degree murder, street terrorism, firearm and gang enhancement charges, according to Deputy District Attorney Cristina Johnson.

On May 7, 2011, 24-year-old Jose Calderon Cisneros was walking down Haight Street in front of a residence in Castroville at about 5:45 p.m. when Cortez, a gang member who was a passenger in a vehicle, decided to kill the pedestrian, prosecutors said.

In a video taken from a security camera at the residence and used as evidence by sheriff’s deputies, Cisneros is seen holding up his hands in surrender as Cortez shot him repeatedly and continued to fire bullets into Cisneros’ head once the victim was on the ground, Johnson said.

Butler remarked during the sentencing hearing in Salinas that the killing was senseless as the victim was merely walking down the street when Cortez opted to shoot him, Johnson said.

Cisneros, found lying on the sidewalk near the intersection of Haight and Salinas streets, was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the sheriff’s office.

Deputies used the video of the shooting to identify the vehicle used by the suspects and eventually Cortez and his co-defendant Fernando Miranda, according to the district attorney’s office.

Miranda, 26, of Castroville, a gang member with Cortez, drove Cortez to and from the crime scene and served as lookout for Cortez during the shooting, Johnson said.

He was on active parole for a gang-related conviction at the time and sheriff’s deputies used records from the GPS bracelet he wore to place him at the scene of the homicide, she said.

Miranda pleaded guilty to charges of voluntary manslaughter and assault with a deadly weapon with gang enhancements and was sentenced by Butler last Friday to 42 years and four months in prison, according to prosecutors.

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