The Star-News


Killer apologizes to victim's mom, gets 26 years

Sat, Jan 29 2011 12:00 PM Posted By: Neal Putnam

The gunman who shot a South Bay man to death in 2006 in Bonita was sentenced Jan. 14 to 26 years in state prison.

A second man with him received eight years and four months in prison.

Luis Fonseca Niebla, 25, apologized to the mother and widow of Porfirio "Noe" Lopez, 29, who was shot seven times on Nov. 25, 2006, near the parking lot of the Winners Circle horse stables at 3017 Equitation Lane in Bonita.

"I want to tell the wife of Noe and his mother that I regret very much the harm I caused them, and that one day may God remove that hurt," said Niebla.

Luis Bello, 23, of Chula Vista, was present at the shooting and had arranged for Lopez to be there to confront the victim over suspicion that Lopez may have stolen marijuana and $10,000 from him.

As it turns out, it was Niebla who may have stolen the marijuana and Lopez was about to accuse him when Niebla pulled out a gun and shot him.

Four other men were with Bello and Niebla and all were surprised when Niebla suddenly shot him, according to defense attorneys. They all quickly left the scene and the four others are awaiting sentencing on lessor charges.

San Diego Superior Court Judge Robert O'Neill sentenced Bello to eight years and four months in prison. He gave Niebla and Bello credit for already serving 993 days in jail and ordered both men to pay $3,245.93 for the victim's funeral expenses. He fined Niebla $11,334, and Bello's fine was set at $7,554.

Bello kept calling Lopez on his cell phone while he and his wife were walking around the Plaza Bonita mall that afternoon. Lopez finally agreed to come with Bello when he showed up at the mall.

Lopez's wife was also present at the sentencing. His daughter was only 10 days old when he was killed, and is now four years old.

"Noe was murdered for no reason. This should have never happened," said the victim's sister, Jennifer Keliher to the judge. "He murdered his friend...and left a 10-day old child without a father."

"It hurts me very much what he did to him. What I want to be done is justice," said the victim's mother, Emelda Lopez Valenzuela. "They didn't have one ounce of sympathy for him. I will always love him and will join him in heaven."

Deputy District Attorney Chris Lindberg said Lopez, Niebla, and Bello all attended South Bay high schools and they all knew each other.

Niebla pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter, false imprisonment, burglary, making a criminal threat to two co-defendants, transportation and possession of marijuana. O'Neill imposed 11 years for manslaughter plus 10 years consecutively for using a gun in a homicide.

Niebla received five years consecutively for the other charges.

Bello pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter, false imprisonment, possession and transportation of marijuana for sale. A murder charge was dropped against Niebla, Bello, and the four others who are free on bond. Charges were first brought in April, 2008, following a long investigation.


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