Fresno man who killed neighbor over 'petty' feud apologizes before heading to prison




 

A Fresno man was sentenced to 10 years in prison Friday for shooting to death a neighbor he had been feuding with for months.

Rodrigo Quezada, 51, agreed to a plead no contest to voluntary manslaughter involving the killing of Francisco Franquez, 50, on Oct. 24, 2020.

Police said the two men and their families lived at a mobile home park at East Sierra Avenue and North Clark Street and had been bickering for several months.

Their arguing escalated to violence when Quezada shot Franquez several times after a confrontation earlier in the day, police said.

During Quezada's sentencing in Judge Jonathan Skiles's courtroom, the victim's sister Paula Franquez said her brother's killer deserves life in prison.

"When someone decides to pick up a gun and kill someone else they deserve to spend life in prison," Paula Franquez said. "This wasn't a shootout. It was one man who pulled the trigger three times and took the life away of our family member."

Jackeline Garcia, wife of Francisco Franquez, told the judge that she and her children are devastated by his death. Nothing is the same, she said.

"We can't even eat at the dinner table together because we see his empty chair," she said.

She said the day he was killed was one of the most difficult days of her life.

"You don't know how it felt when I saw my husband in a bag, cold and not moving," she said. "I hugged him and kissed him and told him, 'my love you are headed home.'"

The Fresno County District Attorney's Office and defense attorney Miles Harris crafted the plea agreement in part because of the challenge in taking this case to trial.

Harris said there were too many inconsistent statements, some provided by Franquez's family, that would have made it difficult for a jury to convict Quezada for first-degree murder.

What prompted the argument the day of the shooting and who saw the shooting are still in dispute, Harris said. A neighbor who had a view of the shooting told investigators he didn't see anything.

Smittcamp added that this wasn't just a feud between the two men, but also their families. "It is really sad that such petty conflicts and differences of opinion rose to the level of affecting the lives of so many families," Smittcamp said.

Quezada spoke briefly during his sentencing. "I would like to say today that I am sorry," he said.

Had Quezada been convicted of murder, he would have faced life in prison.

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