Santa Cruz County

Gang member faces more than three decades in prison

Man convicted of trying to kill rival in Watsonville

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. - The Santa Cruz County District Attorney Bob Lee announced Thursday that the gang member, who shot and attempted to kill a rival gang member on New Year's Eve in 2011 in Watsonville, will spend 37 years to life in prison and will not be eligible for parole for more than three decades.

A jury convicted Jose Ocegueda on charges of attempted murder, assault with a firearm, and witness intimidation. 

Ocegueda was at a party with his girlfriend when the confrontation occurred. Ocegueda fled the scene in a car driven by his girlfriend Margarita Ruiz and hid out in a motel with her in Salinas.

The next day, he called one of the witnesses to the shooting and threatened her. He then fled to Mexico, but was arrested as he re-entered the United States a few days later.

Ruiz pleaded guilty to accessory after-the-fact and a gang allegation for helping the defendant flee and avoid capture.

She was sentenced to one year in county jail.

The victim eventually made a full recovery.

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