Three gang members charged with murder in connection with the death of an Arroyo Grande man last year will not face the death penalty if convicted, San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow announced Wednesday.
Instead, prosecutors are seeking life behind bars without the possibility of parole for Robert Joseph Garay, Gabriel Luis Garay and Nathaniel Alexander Jara.
The three were arrested and charged with first-degree murder last August, four months after Daniel Fuentes Sr. was shot and killed in Oceano.
San Luis Obispo County sheriff's officials say he died at a neighbor's home on the 2200 block of Beach Street after knocking on the door and asking for help.
The DA's Office also alleges the men were "active participants in a criminal street gang and committed the murder to further the activities of the criminal street gang."
If convicted of the murder charge and special circumstances, the three men could be eligible for the death penalty, but Dow says his office chose not to do so in this case.
"As long as the death penalty is a lawful sentence in California, I will continue to perform my duty in a thoughtful and deliberate manner, considering all of the facts, when deciding whether or not the death penalty is appropriate," Dow said in a press release. "The decision in this case to seek life in prison without the possibility of parole, rather than the death penalty, was made after careful consideration of all facts related to the case and the background of the defendants.
Dow says his office also spoke with Fuentes' family members and investigators regarding the decision.