Crime - Sacto 911

2 sentenced in 2014 Land Park gas station holdup

Sentences were handed down in separate Sacramento Superior Court hearings Friday for two men in a brazen armed daylight robbery of a Land Park gas station last year that ended with a high-speed chase along busy Interstate 5.

Judge Delbert Oros sentenced Eduardo Aguayo, 37, to 16 years in state prison and Aguayo’s younger apprentice, 23-year-old Francisco Castillo, to 22 years for their roles in the May 22, 2014, robbery of a Union 76 gas station on Sutterville Road in Sacramento. Sacramento Superior Court jurors convicted Aguayo, Castillo and a third man, Daniel Espinosa, 34, of robbery along with gun and gang enhancements in June.

Oros delayed Espinosa’s sentencing until September. Defense attorneys prior to Friday’s sentencing asked for a trial in Sacramento Superior Court to dismiss a prior strike conviction in neighboring San Joaquin County.

Prosecutors said Aguayo and Espinosa were longtime members of the notorious Sureños street gang and Castillo was their young recruit who was swept into the gang life. Espinosa had a previous conviction for assault with a deadly weapon, prosecutors said, while Aguayo had a “multiplicity of prior misdemeanors,” in Oros’ words, leading to the May 2014 robbery.

Castillo pointed a gun at the gas station’s cashier that May day. Aguayo snatched the cash. Espinosa was behind the wheel. No one was hurt in the holdup. Still, “This was an extremely dangerous robbery. There are no real secrets about what happened,” Oros said.

Oros, who sentenced Castillo to the low two-year term for robbery, plus mandated 10-year terms for use of a gun and for participation in a gang, spoke expansively of his sentencing decision from the bench. He also addressed Castillo, a field worker with little criminal history who Oros said fell under sway of Espinosa and Aguayo with life-changing consequences.

Calling him the youngest and most vulnerable of the three men, Oros said Castillo “fell under the spell of the other individuals and was, frankly, used by them,” saying later, Castillo “may well have been putting in work for the gang.”

Using a gun, Oros said, “cost him 10 years of his life. Being in a gang cost him 10 years of his life.”

Darrell Smith: 916-321-1040, @dvaughnsmith