Gang members plead guilty to killing teenage couple

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Court, gavel, trialVISTA, Calif. — Three gang members pleaded guilty Friday to murder and manslaughter charges for their roles in the 2011 retaliation killings of a teenage couple in an Oceanside park.

AL’C Bejaran, 21, pleaded guilty to two counts of murder and admitted a special circumstance allegation of multiple murders in the May 3, 2011, shooting deaths of 14-year-old Sandra Salgado and 16-year-old Fernando Solano at Libby Lake Park.

Bejaran — who prosecutors said was the gunman — avoided the death penalty with his plea and will be sentenced to life in prison without parole at a Dec. 11 hearing.

Justin Gibson, also 21, and Kenneth Hamilton, 36, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and admitted gang allegations and being vicariously armed with a firearm. They each will be sentenced to 20- year prison terms at a Jan. 14 hearing.

Patrol officers found the teens’ bodies at the Calle Montecito Street open-space area about 10:30 p.m. on May 3, 2011, while responding to reports of gunfire.

The teens — who relatives said were boyfriend and girlfriend — had no gang ties, police said.

According to previous court testimony, Hamilton and Gibson — members of a predominately black gang — said they went to the park in rival Hispanic gang territory with Bejaran the night of the murders.

Hamilton told detectives they were smoking marijuana when Bejaran spotted the victims on a hillside and shot them.

Bejaran’s girlfriend testified that he wanted revenge for an attack on Hamilton days earlier.

A fourth gang member, Tyrone Blackmon, pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact and was sentenced to four years in prison.