Sacto 9-1-1
August 23, 2012
Two Woodland gang members convicted in 2009 attack

A Yolo County jury has convicted two Woodland gang members of brutally attacking a man three years ago as he sat in his car outside a convenience store.

After a two-week trial and one day of deliberations, Jose Rodolfo Rivas, 24, and Aaron Anthony Valadez, 22, were found guilty Monday of aggravated mayhem with gang enhancements and additional felony charges of robbery, according to a Yolo County District Attorney's Office news release.

The attack occurred in the early morning hours of Sept. 20, 2009. Shortly after midnight, the victim drove an acquaintance to the AM/PM minimart near County Road 102 and Interstate 5 in Woodland. As the victim waited in the car for his acquaintance to come out of the store, he saw several young men in the parking lot.

Officials said Rivas, Valadez, Matthew Martin, who was convicted in July 2011, and at least two other individuals swarmed the victim's vehicle and attacked him a he was seated inside. The attack was witnessed by travelers who had stopped at the AM/PM en route to the state of Washington.

A surveillance video from the market also captured images of the attack, showing the victim as he was repeatedly punched and kicked as he sat seat-belted in the driver's seat while Valadez held the driver's door closed, preventing the victim's escape. Authorities said the attack ended after Rivas slid into the passenger side of the car and slashed the victim's face, leaving a gash that ran from his ear to his chin.

Defense attorneys argued that attack occurred because the victim's acquaintance had made derogatory statements to the assailants' female companions, according to the news release.

Rivas and Valadez are to be sentenced Oct. 17 by Yolo Superior Court Judge Stephen Mock.

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