Salvadoran man takes murder plea, faces deportation

A Salvadoran man faces deportation after a Thursday sentencing hearing closed out his 20-year-old murder case.

Erasmo Pena, 46, who was twice convicted of second-degree murder and twice allowed a new trial by the state Supreme Court - once because of prosecutorial misconduct, once because of a judge's error - pleaded guilty via an Alford plea earlier this month to second-degree murder for the fatal shooting of Marcos Valenzuela, 21, in November 1991. The Alford plea means he did not admit guilt but allowed that prosecutors could prove their case against him.

As part of the deal, Pena, who has been jailed since 2002, was given credit for time served and is expected to be released and deported within days.

Authorities said after an argument and shoving match, Pena fatally shot Valenzuela as he drove from a party in the 6100 block of Westwind Road, near Patrick Lane and Jones Boulevard in November 1991.

Pena fled to El Salvador after the shooting. He was arrested in 2002 after coming back to the United States.

Contact reporter Francis McCabe at or 702-380-1039.