A Sacramento Superior Court jury today convicted Alfredo Daniel Tafoya on two counts of second-degree murder in the shooting deaths of Carlos Montes and Efrain Zambrano at a Nov. 28, 2009, quinceanera celebration in Galt.
The jury had deliberated for four days and appeared unable to reach a verdict until Deputy District Attorney Eric Kindall announced this morning that prosecutors had amended the complaint against Tafoya to dismiss the first-degree murder charges as well as a special-circumstance allegation of multiple murders.
Tafoya, 20, faces a potential term of 80 years to life in prison at his scheduled March 23 sentencing in front of Judge Greta Curtis Fall. Defense attorney Pete Harned said after the verdict he will ask the judge to sentence Tafoya to a concurrent term of 40-to-life on the two second-degree murder convictions.
Tafoya, a reputed Sureno gang member, was caught on camera gunning down the 20-year-old Zambrano. The Zambrano shooting came shortly after Tafoya had shot Montes, 24. The gunfire took place during a dispute that had arisen in the Estrellita Ballroom gathering between a friend of Tafoya's and some other men who prosecutors say were affiliated with Norteno gangs.
One juror interviewed after the verdicts today said the majority of panel members wanted to convict Tafoya of first-degree murder, but that a minority held firm that the defendant did not premeditate the killing and that he may have been provoked.