Van Nuys, CA – A fugitive gang member extradited from Mexico to face criminal charges for the 1991 firstdegree murder of a high school student and the attempted murder of four others was sentenced on January 12 to 85 years to life in state prison. Deputy District Attorney Victor Avila of the Hardcore Gang Division said Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Bob Bowers Jr. imposed a five-year determinant consecutive sentence in addition to the 85-year-to-life term. Rodolfo Gallegos was convicted on Dec. 22, 2010, of the fatal shooting of Kenneth Anthony Caldera, a 16- year-old Burbank Union High School student.
The defendant also was found guilty of four counts of willful, deliberate and premeditated attempted murder. He was listed as one of “Van Nuys Most Wanted” by the Los Angeles Police Department. On Aug. 24, 1991, Caldera and several others were driving home from a party when, after dropping off a friend, a car containing Gallegos pulled up alongside them. Gallegos, who was 16 at the time, believed Caldera and his friends were rival gang members and asked where they were from. The defendant then drew a handgun and opened fire as Caldera and the others tried to tell him they were not affiliated with any gang. Caldera died from his wounds. Two of the other four teenagers in the car were hit but survived. The shooting occurred in Blythe Street gang territory in Panorama City. Gallegos was arrested in Mexico on Oct. 2, 2008. He was returned to Los Angeles on March 13, 2009, by the Los Angeles Police Department’s Foreign Prosecution Unit and was prosecuted as an adult. The District Attorney’s Office has been successfully returning fugitives charged with murder and other serious and violent crimes from Mexico since the Mexican Supreme Court in November 2005 ruled that criminal suspects facing life in prison sentences abroad can be extradited from Mexico for prosecution. This case was investigated by officers of the Los Angeles Police Department.