Del Rey man pleads guilty to 2012 murder of his friend

The Fresno BeeJune 27, 2014 

A Del Rey man who confessed to killing his childhood friend in a fight over $300 pleaded guilty to murder Friday in Fresno County Superior Court and was sentenced to 40 years to life in prison.

Jesus Arevalo, 20, thanked defense attorney Antonio Alvarez when his punishment was announced.

"He has great sense of regret and has always been remorseful for his actions," Alvarez said.

A criminal complaint charged Arevalo and Angel Nunez, 20, with the shooting death of 19-year-old Renato Arevalo, whose burned body was found in the trunk of a vehicle south of Del Rey two years ago. (The Arevalos are not related.)

Sheriff's officials said firefighters discovered the victim's body in the trunk of a vehicle near Adams and Del Rey avenues on July 24, 2012. Arevalo and Nunez were arrested the following month.

In April last year, Nunez pleaded guilty to arson and being an accessory after the killing. In exchange for his plea, prosecutors dismissed the murder charge.

Nunez, who remains in the Fresno County Jail, faces as much as three years and eight months in prison when he is sentenced on Aug. 6.

If Arevalo had gone to trial, Nunez would have testified against him, Alvarez said.

Prosecutors also had Arevalo's confession.

When the body was discovered, Arevalo initially denied being involved in the murder, and the detectives left without arresting him, Alvarez said. But days later, Arevalo called detectives and told them what had happened, he said.

"He took full responsibility because he has always felt bad for what he had done," Alvarez said.

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6434, plopez@fresnobee.com or @beecourts on Twitter.

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