'Sunny Day' defendant could get five years for fatal shooting | News | Palo Alto Online |


'Sunny Day' defendant could get five years for fatal shooting

Man strikes plea deal with prosecutors for 2013 killing

A 24-year-old man who pleaded no contest on Friday to manslaughter charges in the shooting death of an alleged gang member could receive five years and four months in state prison for the crime as part of a plea deal, the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office said.

Leonard James Gaines was charged in the Jan. 15, 2013, shooting death of Jonathan Alcazar, 24, in the backyard of Alcazar's Illinois Street home in East Palo Alto. Raymond Bradford, Emmanuel Hyland and Tyrone Love-Lopez were also charged with Alcazar's death and for injuring another man.

Gaines is also one of four men who was arrested for the 2013 attempted robbery of Plaza Jewelers in Redwood City. He and defendants Bradford, Rodney Mitchell of East Palo Alto and Robert Wheller Jr. of Hayward were arrested for the attempted robbery as part of Operation Sunny Day, a major sweep of 16 alleged gang members accused of committing murders, attempted murders and other crimes in connection with retaliation attacks.

Gaines was indicted in March 2015 for the death after being arrested also in connection with the robbery, for which he was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

He pleaded no contest in the Alcazar killing to charges of voluntary manslaughter and felony assault with a firearm and he admitted a gang enhancement charge. His sentence for the Alcazar case would be served consecutively, the District Attorney's Office said.

Prior to his plea deal, Gaines was charged with first-degree murder, murder while lying in wait, gang-related crime, being a felon in possession of a firearm, conspiracy to commit murder and assault with a deadly weapon. Some of the charges were dismissed as part of the negotiated plea because prosecutors could not prove the allegations, according to the District Attorney's Office.

A judge in San Mateo County Superior Court will determine Gaines' sentence on Jan. 25.


Follow the Palo Alto Weekly/Palo Alto Online on Twitter @PaloAltoWeekly and Facebook for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

What is community worth to you?
Support local journalism.


12 people like this
Posted by XDM
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Dec 19, 2017 at 9:55 am

There is something wrong with the Justice system when someone gets 20 years for attempted robbery and 5 for Murder. This Criminal should never be allowed out of Jail

2 people like this
Posted by da Big Man upstairs
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Dec 19, 2017 at 12:12 pm

>> This Criminal should never be allowed out of Jail

Never? Never happens to be a very long time for a crime committed as a 20 year old.

Absolutely serve the sentences.

But: WWJD?

Like this comment
Posted by Rusticate
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 19, 2017 at 1:04 pm


Got enough God?

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

All your news. All in one place. Every day.

'Are they ready for fully innovative Indian food?' Ettan arrives in Palo Alto with chaat, caviar and a secret menu
By Elena Kadvany | 1 comment | 3,766 views

Flying: How to lower your impact
By Sherry Listgarten | 14 comments | 2,690 views

Premarital and Couples: Here Be Dragons!
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 2,170 views

Goodbye toy stores
By Cheryl Bac | 12 comments | 1,708 views

Pseudo-Primary for CA Senate District 13: some thoughts
By Douglas Moran | 3 comments | 1,351 views


Short story writers wanted!

The 34th Annual Palo Alto Weekly Short Story Contest is now accepting entries for Adult, Young Adult and Teen categories. Send us your short story (2,500 words or less) and entry form by March 27, 2020. First, Second and Third Place prizes awarded in each category. Sponsored by Kepler's Books, Linden Tree Books and Bell's Books.

Contest Details