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OXNARD : CYA to Evaluate Convicted Killer

An Oxnard teen-ager whose robbery accomplice was killed during an attempted holdup at a convenience store was ordered Friday to undergo an evaluation by the California Youth Authority prior to being sentenced for first-degree murder.

Francisco Gonzalez, 16, who was prosecuted as an adult, is scheduled to return to court on June 4, when he will be sentenced to at least 28 years to life in prison. Superior Court Judge Charles McGrath must decide at that time if Gonzalez should be housed at a CYA facility until he is 25, or go directly to prison.

Gonzalez pleaded guilty last month to the murder of Mark Alan Estrada, 16, of Oxnard, who died of a gunshot wound to the chest Dec. 2 when the pair attempted to rob a convenience store on South Ventura Road in Oxnard.

Although Estrada was killed by shop owner T. Roman Paras, 58, Gonzalez was legally responsible for the death because it occurred during a felony in which he participated. In exchange for Gonzalez’s guilty plea, prosecutors agreed to drop a special allegation that carries a sentence of life without parole.

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Attorneys said Friday that Gonzalez and Estrada were convicted in May, 1991, of burglarizing a house together. Although their parents forbade the youths to associate with each other, they remained best friends and planned the convenience store robbery to get money for Estrada to buy drugs, Deputy Public Defender John H. Voigtsberger said.

Voigtsberger said Gonzalez started getting in trouble after his father suffered severe brain damage in an accident a few years ago.

Court records say Gonzalez supplied the gun for the robbery, and while fleeing the store he fired at least once at Paras, narrowly missing the store owner’s head.

On the way to the robbery, court records state, Gonzalez wondered aloud what it would be like to get shot, and Estrada replied, “I don’t want to find out.”

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