Victim: Alejandro Padilla
SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. – A judge sentenced a Fontana man to 25 years to life in state prison Wednesday for the 2013 murder of Alejandro Padilla.
“A lifetime of imprisonment can’t change what he has done to us,” Mr. Padilla’s daughter Emily told Judge Gregory S. Tavill at the sentencing hearing for Edward Morales. “No matter how much time he serves, he can never take away all the hurt and suffering that his actions have caused our family. He robbed us of our future.”
Edward Morales, 21, was convicted in Nov. 2016 of First Degree Murder, Robbery, Carjacking and Kidnapping for the Purpose of Robbery.
The body of 40-year-old Alejandro Padilla was found in July 2013 inside a burning vehicle, which belonged to the victim. The following month investigators from the Fontana Police Department arrested Morales—who had dated Mr. Padilla’s daughter and knew the victim—and 18-year-old Richard Gonzalez. Morales’ mother, Alma Quezada, 41, of Fontana, was also arrested as an accessory after the fact of murder.
According to Deputy District Attorney Reza Daghbandan, who prosecuted the case, Morales and Gonzalez decided to rob the victim believing he often carried a lot of money.
“On the day of the crime, both defendants waited for the victim to come out of his home to go to work,” Daghbandan said. “When he came out of his house, they confronted him with a bat and a gun and then dragged him into his own car.”
While Morales was driving, Gonzalez was in the back beating the victim with a gun and stabbing him with scissors. At some point, the victim died in the car. Morales left the car at a park and Gonzales later returned to burn it.
Mr. Padilla’s two daughter’s Emily and Danielle, standing alongside District Attorney Victim Advocate Wendy Salas, also read a statement at Wednesday’s sentencing on behalf of their mother:
“Our lives have forever been changed. We no longer can hear the voice that brought us so much happiness and laughter. And for a long time since that day, we have felt so much pain and anger. He took away my best friend, my husband, the father of my girls. It brings me to tears to know that they won’t ever be able to walk down the aisle on their wedding day with their dad’s hand next to them, that they can no longer go to him when they are feeling sad and need a comforting hug.”
Richard Gonzalez, one of the four defendants in the case, committed suicide while in custody two days after being arrested. Quezada was sentenced Sept. 4, 2015 to 19 days in County Jail. Victor Morales pleaded guilty to Accessory After the Fact in Sept. 2015.
This case was investigated by the Fontana Police Department.
Edward Morales (Booking Photo)