SAN BERNARDINO. – A documented gang member with a prior strike conviction has been sentenced to 80 years to life in state prison for the murder of 25-year-old Roy Craddock.
Juan Fuentes, 26, of San Bernardino, was sentenced Friday at the San Bernardino Justice Center by Superior Court Judge J. David Mazurek after being convicted of one count of Murder on March 27, 2014.
Supervising Deputy District Attorney Jill Gregory, who was formerly assigned to the Central Division Gang Unit, prosecuted the case.
Prior to sentencing one of the victim’s family members addressed the judge:
“We do not understand how another human being, who bleeds just as we do, could be so quick to pull the trigger and take the life, the very last breath, last drop of blood from the most kind-hearted and loving human being to walk this earth… While we were standing over his casket waiting for him to wake up, give us a hug and tell us it was just a dream, his body never moved. After a while, we were all forced to realize that we were living in a nightmare.”
Statement of Facts
It was a rainy Friday morning-November 4, 2011. The body of a young man was found lying near the entrance of Muscoy Elementary school, with six close-range gunshot wounds to the head.
A custodian at the school came upon the scene of the crime just before school started and alerted authorities. The victim was identified as 25-year-old Roy Craddock, a lifelong resident of Muscoy, who had attended that very elementary school.
“Through interviews with the victim’s family, we were able to find out that the victim had called the night before just after eleven o’clock, asking to be picked up in the vicinity of the school,” said Gregory.
Gregory added that although family members drove to the location immediately to pick him up, they were unable to locate him and he was not responding to repeated phone calls.
Surveillance video from the school showed that the victim had passed by the front of the school at 11:19 p.m. on Nov. 3, 2011, and then doubled back towards the flagpole in front of the school as though two individuals there caught his attention.
“The shooting itself was caught on surveillance, although it was shadowy and dark enough to provide only a bare outline of what had occurred there,” said Gregory.
After a month-long investigation by the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Homicide Team, then-Sgt. Brad Toms and Detectives Landaeta, Johnson, Peterson and Cannon, questioned Fuentes, who was 20-years-old at the time.
Fuentes later admitted to investigators that he shot the victim, claiming self-defense.
According to Gregory, the surveillance video proved helpful in casting doubt on the defendant’s claim, as it showed the defendant’s contact with the victim to be under forty seconds in length.