A 21-year-old man was sentenced Thursday to life in prison without the possibility of parole for stabbing two men to death at separate house parties in South Los Angeles and Pacoima during fall 2016, prosecutors said.
A jury found Jesse Alexander Cardoza of Arleta guilty earlier this year of murder in the deaths of 18-year-old Martin Kennedy and Victor Garcia, 22, the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office said in a news release.
The first killing occurred Sept. 24 after a house party on Stanford Avenue in the Green Meadows neighborhood of South L.A.
Once the revelry wound down, Cardoza and a minor confronted and attacked Kennedy. The victim died after Cardoza stabbed him on the back of the head and in the back, officials said.
The next month, on Oct. 29, Cardoza allegedly killed Garcia at a party advertised by flyer on Bernadette Street in Pacoima.
As the gathering was closing down around 2:20 a.m., Garcia was trying to disperse partygoers and diffuse tension when Cardoza plunged a knife into his neck unprovoked, according to prosecutors.
At the time, a news release from L.A. police stated Garcia’s attackers sparked a confronation after they “became so intoxicated and belligerent that the homeowner asked them to leave the party.”
Garcia, an El Monte resident, later died at the hospital.
Within a few hours of Garcia’s killing, Cardoza allegedly smashed a champagne bottle on a victim at another party. That case was prosecuted separately, the DA’s office said.
Cardoza had fled the Pacoima party in a vehicle, but jail records show he was arrested Nov. 29 by an LAPD fugitive apprehension task force.
Two co-defendants in the case — 20-year-old Brandon Corona of North Hills and Angel Andres Quezada, 20, of L.A. — had been facing murder charges that were later dismissed, according to court records.
Both men pleaded no contest to one count of assault with a deadly weapon last October.
Corona was subsequently sentenced to six years in prison, while Quezada received an eight-year prison term.