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Fifteen years for man who stabbed victim in neck Neal Putnam | Fri, Sep 03 2010 12:00 PM

A 23 year-old man on Aug. 30 pleaded guilty to attempted murder and admitted he committed the crime because of association with a criminal street gang.

John Phillip Moreno III, asked for immediate sentencing, and got 15 years in prison from Chula Vista Superior Court Judge Esteban Hernandez.

The 22-year-old victim was stabbed in the neck and torso on Feb. 8 on 17th Street in National City, and was severely injured.

His identity is being withheld because of concern for his safety.

The victim was initially in critical condition and suffered from major brain swelling and loss of blood to the brain, said Deputy District Attorney David Grapilon.

The victim still cannot talk and is undergoing physical rehabilitation.

Hernandez imposed five years for the attempted murder and added 10 years consecutively because the crime occurred with association of a criminal street gang.

Moreno was fined $3,000, and given credits of 226 days spent in jail since his Feb. 14 arrest by National City Police.

The victim was visiting a friend who used to live in an apartment on 17th Street and the victim knew Moreno.

Grapilon said he was lured into the parking lot around 9 p.m. where he was stabbed.

Awaiting sentencing on Oct. 13 is Ernesto Alonzo Ceja, 22, of National City, who pleaded guilty Aug. 4 to being an accessory after the fact. Grapilon said Ceja drove Moreno away after the stabbing occurred.

Hernandez dismissed charges of attempted murder and assault with a knife against Ceja.

Probation has been ruled out for Ceja, said Grapilon, adding, "he's going to prison."

Ceja has already agreed to accept a 3-year stipulated prison term, he said. Ceja remains in the South Bay Detention Facility without bail.

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