LANCASTER –A security guard has pleaded no contest to his involvement in a fight in a Lancaster nightclub’s bathroom in 2013 that left a 49-year-old man dead.
Gabriel Fernandez, 42, pleaded no contest last week to voluntary manslaughter in connection with the death of Luciano Meza Juarez, according to court records.
Juarez, a Lancaster resident, died of blunt force head trauma at 1:19 a.m. Sept. 28, 2013, according to Lt. David Smith of the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office.
Family members said previously that the 49-year-old grandfather died minutes after he was brutally beaten and robbed inside a bathroom at the Mango Tango nightclub. However, sheriff’s officials released little details on the incident, saying only that Juarez “was the victim of an assault at a local bar,” which was reported at 12:37 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013, in the 44200 block of Division Street in Lancaster.
A murder charge was filed against Fernandez last year, and the case was called for trial last month, court records show.
Court testimony during trial revealed that Fernandez, a security guard for an unrelated establishment, got into an altercation with Juarez inside the Mango Tango nightclub’s bathroom. The altercation led to a fight and the defendant punched the victim at least once, but nothing was stolen from the victim, according to court testimony.
Midway through the trial, Fernandez pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter, according to Ricardo Santiago of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. He is expected to be sentenced July 24 to six years in prison, Santiago said.
Fernandez remains jailed without bail.
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