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California

Man guilty of killing two at separate 2016 house parties

A 21-year-old man was found guilty Wednesday of stabbing two men to death at separate house parties in South Los Angeles and Pacoima in the fall of 2016, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.

A jury found Jesse Alexander Cardoza guilty of one count of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder in the killings of 18-year-old Martin Kennedy and 22-year-old Victor Garcia in separate attacks, authorities said.

Two others accused of helping Cardoza carry out one of the attacks, 20-year-old Brandon Corona and 20-year-old Angel Andres Quezada, each pleaded no contest in October to one count of assault with a deadly weapon.

Prosectors said the three men and a minor confronted and attacked Kennedy on Sept. 24, 2016 after a house party in South Los Angeles. Cardoza stabbed Kennedy in the back of his head and his back, killing him, prosecutors said.

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On Oct. 29, 2016, prosecutors said Cardoza carried out a similar attack.

As a house party was winding down in Pacoima, prosecutors said, Garcia was helping to defuse tension among some of the partygoers. While Garcia was trying to disperse the crowd, prosecutors said, Cardoza approached him and stabbed him in the neck.

Cardoza also smashed a champagne bottle on another victim at a separate party that night, prosecutors said.

Cardoza is set to be sentenced in late February in Los Angeles County Superior Court. He faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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Corona was sentenced to six years in state prison; Quezada received an eight-year sentence.

javier.panzar@latimes.com

Twitter: @jpanzar


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