San Francisco Bay Area Violent Crime

Antonio Sotelo-Moreno Convicted of 1st Degree Murder in East Palo Alto

A man was found guilty of first-degree murder on Monday for chasing down and killing a man in East Palo Alto in 2014. A San Mateo County Superior Court jury in Redwood City returned the verdict for Antonio Sotelo-Moreno, 27, after a 15-day trial.

Sotelo-Moreno was convicted of first-degree murder, three counts of assault with a firearm, shooting at a motor vehicle and possession of a firearm by a felon for the Aug. 14, 2014, attack on a group of friends in a car who had just left a party. Nazario Barajas, 18, was killed in the shooting and three other passengers in the car were injured.

Barajas and the others had just left a party at the Westpark apartments when they were followed by Sotelo-Moreno in a car driven by Herson Cruz, 24. Cruz cut off the other car on Georgetown Street near Purdue Avenue at about 11:35 p.m., forcing them to stop. Sotelo-Moreno got out and approached the other car, asking, “Where’s Chayo,” referring to Barajas’ nickname.

He opened fire after a short fight, killing Barajas and wounding three other people in the car. Cruz and Sotelo-Moreno remained at large for months. Cruz was arrested on Dec. 29, 2014, when he was spotted by an off-duty police officer.

Sotelo-Moreno fled to Mexico but was tracked down there and returned to the U.S. to stand trial in 2015. Cruz pleaded no contest to assault and accessory to murder charges last year in exchange for a sentence of no more than five years in prison. Sotelo-Moreno faces over 60 years in prison when he is sentenced on April 21. He remains in jail without bail.

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