Jury Reaches a Verdict in Dramatic Los Gatos Murder-for-Hire - NBC Bay Area

Jury Reaches a Verdict in Dramatic Los Gatos Murder-for-Hire



    While the eyes of the world will be watching the field, police will be watching the fans. (Published Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2010)

    After three days of deliberation, a jury in the bizarre slaying of a Los Gatos man has reached a verdict. 

    The jury found all three men accused in the death of Mark Achilli guilty of first degree murder, including the main defendant in the trial Paul Garcia.  Miguel Chaidez and Lucio Estrada were the accused hitman who were hired to kill Achilli. They were also found guilty of first degree murder.

    NBC Bay Area Damian Trujillo said that Garcia sat stoically during the court proceeding and showed no emotion as the verdict was read.

    Achilli's family members, who were in the courtroom for the verdict, cried and hugged each other after they heard the guilty verdicts.  Members of Garcia's family were also in court, and also shed tears at the news.

    Garcia will be sentenced in Dec. 9.  Chaidez and Estrada are scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 18.  Estrada and Garcia face a minimum sentence of life in prison without parole because they their convictions include a special circumstance enhancement. Chaidez faces 25 years to life.

    The trial has been called "one of the most sensational local murder cases in recent memory" because it unfortunately reads a little like a Hollywood movie.

    Deputy District Attorney Jeff Rosen painted the killing of the former Los Gatos bar owner as a love triangle gone wrong.  This is the last case that Rosen will try as a deputy D.A. He won the election and will take over as District Attorney soon.

    "It's a somber day. I'm pleased with the jury's verdict, but it is not a happy day," Rosen said outside the courtroom.

    In March 2008, Achilli's body was found shot eight times in front of his Los Gatos condo. The accused mastermind of his killing is Garcia, who bought the bar Mountain Charley and the 180 Restaurant and Lounge from Achilli.

    But Garcia is not accused of pulling the trigger himself, instead he is charged with hiring people to have Achilli killed.

    The trial has been an emotional one. Rosen has shown gruesome pictures of Achilli's lifeless body to the jury that led to his widow breaking down in the courtroom.