A gunman who killed two men at a 4-year-old girl’s birthday party 35 years ago in Ramona, then fled the country for more than three decades, was sentenced Friday to 34 years to life in state prison.
A San Diego jury earlier this year convicted Jose Angel Solorio, 62, of two counts of second-degree murder for the June 7, 1987, killings of German Aviles, 26, and Ventura Aviles, 21. The men, who were relatives, died at the scene of the shooting, which took place at a B Street apartment where the birthday celebration was held for German Aviles’ 4-year-old daughter.
Deputy District Attorney Chris Lindberg alleged Solorio, then 27 years old, got into an argument with the victims and other men over getting more beer for the party. The prosecutor said Solorio was angered over an apparent insult directed at him, left the party and returned a short time later with a loaded gun.
While standing in the doorway of the apartment, Solorio fatally shot German and Ventura Aviles, then shot and wounded another man inside the
apartment. He then shot another man outside the apartment who was returning to the home with beer.
Solorio was located in Mexico in early 2019 and extradited to the United States later that year.
He was initially charged with murder and attempted murder for shooting all four men, but only faced two murder counts at trial in connection with the deceased victims.
The prosecutor said that as a condition of his extradition from Mexico, the attempted murder counts were dismissed and San Diego prosecutors agreed not to seek the death penalty against Solorio.
At Friday’s sentencing, Solorio told San Diego Superior Court Judge Joan Weber through a Spanish-speaking interpreter, “I have been regretting
this since 1987.”
German Aviles’ daughter, Alicia, said said she was saddened by losing her father at such a young age, and having no concrete memories of him 35 years later.
“I’ve been waiting so long for this day. It’s sad to say it doesn’t change anything,” she said. “I hope Mr. Solorio gets a glimpse of what we went through, knowing that he has his family, but can’t see them.”
Her mother, Rosario Bustamante, said that when Alicia was young, she would ask her why her other friends had fathers and she didn’t.
“I could never find the words (to explain it),” Bustamante said, requesting that the judge impose the maximum sentence possible because “I know
that he doesn’t have enough life left to pay for the maximum time.”
Weber had the discretion to impose Solorio’s sentences concurrently, but said the impact of the murders on the victims’ families warranted consecutive terms. She told Solorio, “You got the opportunity to live with your family, live with your children, live as a free man, while these families were devastated.”
In a statement released after the sentencing, San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan said, “Today, the families of German and Ventura Aviles received a measure of justice after decades of mourning their loss. The daughter of German Aviles had to grow up without her loving father over this senseless and violent act.”