Achilli's Family Sues His Killers

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The family of slain Los Gatos restaurateur Mark Achilli has filed a civil suit against the men convicted of his murder, an attorney for the family said today.

    The wrongful death suit brought by Achilli's daughter Alexandra and widow Michele alleges negligence, assault, battery and intentional and willful misconduct on the part of each of the defendants, and seeks an unspecified amount in damages.

    "The criminal trial was about holding these guys accountable to society," said the family's attorney, Robert Bohn, Jr.

    "They've lost their father, husband and friend," he said of the family. "This is their opportunity to hold these guys accountable to them."

    Last year, a Santa Clara County Superior Court jury found Esequiel "Paul" Garcia and Miguel Chaidez guilty in the shooting death of 53-year-old Achilli, who was gunned down in the driveway of his Overlook Road townhouse on the morning of March 14, 2008.

    A third man, Lucio Estrada, was also convicted of first-degree murder for his role in the crime.

    The lawsuit was filed last year, but the Achilli family wanted to wait until the end of the criminal trial to move forward with it, Bohn said.

    Estrada and Miguel Chaidez were sentenced to 25 years to life, but Garcia's sentencing has been pushed until Sept. 22.

    Harry Robertson, Garcia's trial attorney, withdrew from the case in March. Garcia has since hired a new attorney who is seeking to file a motion for a new trial.

    Achilli owned the popular downtown Los Gatos nightspot Mountain Charley's saloon and the adjacent 180 Restaurant until 2007, when he sold them to Garcia.

    Prosecutors claimed that Garcia orchestrated Achilli's death because Tessa Donnelly, a woman they had both dated, ultimately chose him over Garcia.

    They said Garcia paid Daniel Chaidez, a cousin of Miguel Chaidez and a bouncer at Mountain Charley's, $9,500 in two separate payments for the job. Miguel Chaidez then contacted Estrada in Southern California and paid him to kill Achilli, prosecutors said.

    Prior to the start of the trial, Daniel Chaidez, along with Robert Jacome, a man who was hired to drive Estrada to Achilli's home, both pleaded guilty to lesser charges and received lighter sentences.