SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. – A San Gabriel man was sentenced Friday to life in state prison without the possibility of parole for the 2006 murder of his cellmate at the West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga. Richard Gatica, 43, was found guilty by a jury April 23, 2012, of one count of first-degree murder and one count of assault by a life prisoner. The jury also found the special circumstance of a prior murder conviction true.
“It was a shame that Gatica didn’t use his hard childhood experiences to create a more productive life,” said Deputy District Attorney Kent Williams who prosecuted this case.
At the time of the murder, Gatica was already facing a life sentence in state prison for a 2004 murder conviction in Los Angeles County.
On March 23, 2006, Gatica strangled 35-year-old Daniel Gallegos of Chino Hills with bed sheets that were woven into a rope. In an effort to hide the murder, Gatica posed the body in different positions for the next day to fool the guards into believing that Gallegos was still alive.
“I am proud of the hard work and dedication that Deputy District Attorney Kent Williams put into this difficult case” said District Attorney Michael Ramos. “It continues to be yet another example of the great work coming out of our Major Crimes Unit in our fight for justice for victims and their families.”