Jury finds man guilty of killing Marine veteran at 2015 birthday party

FILE -- Alonso Corona stands before a judge during a court hearing in Bakersfield, Calif., in August 2015. Corona was later convicted in the murder of Victor Anaya. (KBAK/KBFX photo)

Justice has been served for a family grieving the loss of a 23-year-old Marine Corps veteran gunned down at a birthday party a year and a half ago in southwest Bakersfield.

A jury of five men and seven women agreed Thursday that Alonso Corona fired the shot that killed Victor Anaya.

Anaya, 23, had just returned from a tour in Afghanistan when he went to the party.

"And these groups of eight to 10 gang members showed up uninvited, and they started using narcotics," said prosecutor Cole McKnight.

Asked to leave, the gang resisted, and a fight ensued.

Anaya attempted to diffuse the tension. That intervention cost him his life.

Also shot during the altercation was Victor Anaya's cousin, David Anaya.

David Anaya recovered from his wounds, but Victor died shortly after being shot.

An Earlimart native, Anaya's service drew a huge crowd of mourners who celebrated the man they said always had a smile on his face.

Police initially identified five suspects. Charges were filed then dropped against three. Corona will head to prison for Anaya's murder, but the man police believe is responsible for wounding David Anaya remains on the loose.

Jose Montoya Jr.'s whereabouts aren't known, but a warrant has been issued for his arrest.

"With him being an active and second shooter in causing those injuries to David Anaya, no, (the case) is not closed," McKnight said. "It's not until he's caught."

Corona will be sentenced April 18. The maximum penalty, should the judge be so inclined, is 82 years to life.

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