Judge David Cena sentenced Paul Garcia to life in prison this week, without the possibility of parole. It wraps up a Northern California murder case that began in the early morning of March 14, 2008, when fifty-three-year old man-about-town, Mark Achilli, stepped out of his Los Gatos condo to pick up the morning paper, and a couple of knuckleheads put eight slugs into him.
The miscreants left a downloaded map at the scene and a downloaded photo of Achilli. They might as well have left a trail a breadcrumbs.
Watch out for those Google Maps if you are planning a criminal enterprise.
The two shooters were Miguel Chaidez and Lucio Estrada. But the downloaded map and photo were tied to the computer of a man called Paul Garcia, who had recently purchased a pub called Mountain Charley's from the victim.
It seems Garcia had asked his bouncer, Daniel Chaidez, to find someone to put out a hit on Mark Achilli, and Chaidez instead of saying; "You've got to be kidding, bro," or calling the police, called his two cousins in Los Angeles.
The motive for the murder was a bartender at Mountain Charley's, called Tessa Donnelly, who had a thing with Mark Achilli when he was the owner of the joint. When Paul Garcia took over, she had a little romp with him too.
The girl in the case said it wasn't because she liked the new guy that much. No, she took up with Paul Garcia to make her old boyfriend, Mark Achilli, jealous, because Achilli had taken another pretty bartender under his wing, so to speak.
With me so far?
It was all for nought, as Mark Achilli seems to have been the kind of guy that didn't get jealous very easily--possibly because he was way too busy with all those girlfriends of his. And anyway, he still saw Tessa Donnelly from time to time. What a guy!
So when Tessa Donnelly took up with Paul Garcia, instead of this making her old boyfriend jealous, it made her new boyfriend, Paul Garcia, obsessed with Achilli--who seemed to have everything Paul Garcia wanted--i.e. practically every girl in Los Gatos and a personality that left them all loving him, no matter what.
His wife said she did.
Oh, I forget to mention the wife. When the murder occurred, Mark Achilli was still married to lovely Michele Achilli, though they were separated.
That should have made her suspect number one. But she said no, she was hoping she and her husband would reconcile one day, even though they had been separated for something like eighteen years.
Thus it was that Paul Garcia got so jealous of Mark Achilli's hold on barkeep Tessa Donnelly--which was fairly tenuous as holds go--that he put out a hit on Achilli that led to his bouncer's cousins doing the dirty deed and strewing clues behind them from Los Angeles to Los Gatos and back again.
Everybody got convicted--with the so-called mastermind, Paul Garcia, finally facing his sentence this week. I feel kind of sorry for him. Done in by the love of woman, who loved a guy who already had at least one other girlfriend, not to mention a wife (which it seems he rarely did) in a murder-for-hire case in which only $9500 changed hands.
The real mystery in this case wasn't who shot Mark Achilli or why or how. The real mystery was how Mark Achilli managed to live as long as he did without having more people step forward to pump this cheerful scoundrel full of lead.
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