Peninsula man sentenced to life in prison for 2018 murder

Peninsula man sentenced to life in prison for 2018 murder

HALF MOON BAY – A 31-year-old unincorporated Redwood City resident was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison without the possibility of parole for murdering and robbing a man more than five years ago at a Highway 1 turnout south of Half Moon Bay, prosecutors said.

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Omar Villagomez Meza was convicted in November of first-degree murder and robbery. A lying in wait special circumstance and use of a firearm enhancement were also found to be true.

“We are very pleased with Judge (Jonathan) Karesh’s sentence, which guarantees that this vicious killer will never be released from prison,” San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe told the Bay Area News Group. “Mr. Meza will always be a danger to the community and thus his life sentence is the right choice.”

Prosecutors said Meza made arrangements with a friend to drive him and the victim, 25-year-old Luis Alberto Diazlopez, out to the coast to commit a burglary on Oct. 1, 2018. Diazlopez was a known Norteño gang member, according to the district attorney’s office.

At one point, Meza told his friend to stop at a turnout on Highway 1 near Tunitas Creek Road.

Meza and Diazlopez got out of the car, and then without warning, Meza emptied a .40-caliber handgun into Diazlopez, prosecutors said. Meza took Diazlopez’s jewelry and cellphone and left his body in the turnout, where it was found the next day.

Wagstaffe said his office contended Meza was angry with Diazlopez for cooperating with law enforcement in a Santa Clara County case that involved him. However, prosecutors could not come up with admissible evidence to prove the assertion.

Before he was tried on the murder and robbery charges, Meza was convicted of unlawful possession of a firearm in an unrelated federal case. He served a sentence at a prison in Oklahoma and was then arrested on a warrant related to the San Mateo County case.

The guilty verdicts in November represented Meza’s third strike. He was found guilty of robbery in 2010 and attempted robbery in 2013, according to prosecutors.

Attorneys for Meza did not immediately return a message seeking comment on the sentence.

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