Man admits hacking presumed father to death with machete

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SAN DIEGO — A 22-year-old drug abuser who hacked a close family friend to death with a machete during an argument at a Rolando home last year pleaded guilty Wednesday to second-degree murder.

Vincent Salas Garza is expected to be sentenced to 15 years to life in prison for killing 43-year-old Vincente Carrera last Nov. 5.

Deputy District Attorney David McNees said Carrera was listed on Garza’s birth certificate as his father, but DNA proved that not the case. Carrera had a long, ongoing relationship with Garza’s mother and aunt, the prosecutor said.

McNees said Garza lived at the home on Waite Street with others and Carrera was a regular visitor.

Carrera’s body was found in an enclosed back patio the morning of Nov. 6. Investigators believe he was killed around 10 the night before.

McNees said Garza delivered a fatal blow to the back of the victim’s head and other blows to Carrera’s face. A machete was recovered at the scene.

Police said Garza changed clothes after the killing and fled to Phoenix, Arizona, where he was arrested a week later.

In a police bulletin issued last November, Garza was described as a heavy methamphetamine user who was known to be violent and carry knives.

Formal sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 2 before Judge Kathleen Lewis.