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Santa Barbara County man pleads guilty to 2021 murder in Santa Maria

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Posted at 11:25 AM, May 03, 2023

A man charged with a 2021 murder in Santa Maria has pleaded guilty, the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's office announced Wednesday.

Erik Rocha Fernandez pleaded guilty to one felony count of first-degree murder for the slaying of Frankie Placido Hernandez, 29, on May 28, 2021 in Santa Maria, according to a press release by the district attorney's office.

Fernandez also pleaded guilty to attempted murder of another man and conspiracy to commit witness intimidation.

The 2021 murder was part of a murder-for-hire plot, according to court records reviewed by the Santa Maria Times, Dave Minsky reported in July 2021.

Fernandez will receive a sentence of 10 years followed by 25 years to life in state prison, the district attorney's office said.

Fernandez will be sentenced on May 5 in Santa Barbara County Superior Court, Santa Maria Division.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Madison Whitmore represented the district attorney's office in this case. The case was investigated by Santa Maria Police Department Detective Zack Robbins.