Eliazar Guerra, Derick Patel sentenced to life in prison for first and second-degree murder, assault with a firearm and two counts of dissuading a witness for reporting a crime
VISALIA – Two Visalia men land themselves a life sentence after firing a shot that killed one and left fragments in another’s neck.
On Jan. 19, a judge sentenced Eliazar Guerra, 25, to 15 years to life in prison. Guerra previously pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and assault with a firearm in November. He was the second individual to receive a life sentence from a 2021 Visalia murder.
In January 2022, a jury convicted Derick Patel, 25, of first-degree murder, assault with a firearm and two counts of dissuading a witness for reporting a crime. Each of Patel’s counts is a felony and he was sentenced on May 10, 2022, to 25 years-to-life plus 3 years 8 months.
On July 28, 2021, at the Bowlero Bowling Alley in Visalia, Patel and others accused the victims’ group of stealing a wallet. At 11:58 p.m. at the intersection of Caldwell and Mooney, a vehicle driven by Guerra and occupied by Patel lined up beside the victims’ car and a single shot was fired.
One male victim was shot in the neck and died at the scene. The same bullet hit a second male victim in the neck, where a fragment remains. The wallet was discovered in Bowlero shortly after the murder. Following the shooting, Patel told members of his group what statements to provide to the police. Through investigation, Visalia Police Department detectives located Patel and Guerra in Bakersfield the next day. The case was prosecuted by Senior Deputy District Attorney Kalina Laleva and was investigated by the Visalia Police Department.