Crime - Sacto 911

Was anyone arrested for the 1980s slaying of North Sacramento market owner?

Q: There was a man named Mr. Kelly who ran Kelly’s Korner gas mini mart in North Sacramento on Rio Linda Boulevard in the late 1970s. He was shot and killed. Did they ever find out who did it?

JC, Sacramento

A: C. John “Kelly” Kelleher was fatally shot in an exchange of gunfire with three men during a robbery at his Kelly’s Korner convenience market in North Sacramento on Dec. 26, 1982.

Kelly shot and killed one of the robbers, Juan de Jesus Medina Baro, who was believed to have been the gunman who shot Kelleher. Miguel Gotay, a 28-year-old Cuban refugee, was convicted of first degree murder, burglary and two counts of robbery in the case in July 1983 and sentenced to 26 years to life in prison.

The third man, Alexis Santos, also a Cuban refugee, was arrested on a fugitive warrant in early 1984 in Minneapolis, Minn. He was convicted of first-degree murder by a Sacramento County jury and also sentenced to 26 years to life in prison. He remains incarcerated at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville.

The three men walked into the store at 2485 Rio Linda Boulevard about 3:15 p.m. and demanded money, according to accounts in The Sacramento Bee. One man held a gun and another went to the cash register, while a third pushed a customer to the floor and robbed him. During the robbery, Kelleher pulled a gun and exchanged gunfire with Medina Baro.

Moments before the robbery, witnesses saw the three men trying to fix a car near the store.

Kelleher and his wife lived in Nevada City but spent much of their time in Sacramento. He owned three gas stations in addition to the combination gas station and market where he was killed.