Two Fresno residents were sentenced Tuesday to long prison terms for their roles in a bizarre murder-torture case.
Margaret Alaniz, 25, cried in Fresno County Superior Court when she learned she would be spending 45 years to life in prison.
Anthony Gilbert Nunez, 44, showed no reaction when his punishment of 24 years to life was announced.
Judge Houry Sanderson gave Alaniz a stiffer punishment because she had a prior robbery conviction. Sanderson also said Alaniz was the ringleader in the torturing of a woman, identified in court only as Jane Doe, and in the killing of 27-year-old Oscar Seja in August 2013.
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During the trial, prosecutor Gabriel Brickey and defense attorneys Amy Guerra and Gerald Schwab Jr. agreed that Seja had raped Jane Doe before he was killed and buried under a house at 2623 E. McKenzie Ave., near Fresno Street and Belmont Avenue, where the killing happened.
Those children saw unimaginable things.
Judge Houry Sanderson
The lawyers said Jane Doe, then 35, went to the central Fresno home to settle a debt, and Alaniz invited her in. Soon after, Alaniz, who is known as “C-Loca,” shut the window blinds, turned up the music and assaulted Jane Doe. Nunez, who is known as “Troubles,” then grabbed the woman, tossed her into a closet and tied her hands and feet.
Later that night, Nunez had a change of heart and untied the victim, causing Alaniz to get enraged and spray Jane Doe with an acid. Jane Doe was then held captive in the house for several days before Nunez took her to the garage. There, Seja offered her food and protection in exchange for sex. Powerless, she agreed.
Once Alaniz learned of the sex, she became enraged.
Alaniz and Nunez fought with Seja inside the home. While Nunez held him down, Alaniz stabbed him 22 times in what Brickey told the jury was a chaotic act of “vigilantism and revenge.” Afterward, Alaniz told others inside the house to clean up the bloody mess.
To get her freedom, Jane Doe had to help Alaniz and Nunez bury Seja’s body under the home, Brickey said.
In October, a jury found Alaniz and Nunez guilty of second-degree murder in the killing of Seja and guilty of torturing Jane Doe.
Tuesday, Schwab, who represented Alaniz, asked the judge to show mercy. Schwab said Alaniz is the product of a horrific childhood in which she was neglected and molested by relatives. As a young woman, she was in abusive relationships, he said.
Schwab also said a doctor has diagnosed Alaniz with post traumatic stress disorder. Alaniz didn’t know what she was doing on the day of the killing because she was under the influence of drugs, he said. Once she learned Jane Doe had been raped, “her PTSD kicked in” and that caused “a hyper-vigilance response,” Schwab told the judge.
Sanderson agreed that Alaniz had a terrible upbringing. But the judge also said people had helped Alaniz turn her life around, yet she chose to lead a life of crime.
In addition, Sanderson said Alaniz subjected young children in the home to witness Jane Doe being tortured and held against her will. “Those children saw unimaginable things,” the judge said.