Judge sentences man to 15 years in East Bay kidnap, murder case

An Alameda County Superior Court Judge on Wednesday sentenced a man to 15 years in prison for strangling a San Leandro man to death and dumping his body on the side of the road in Castro Valley in 2021. 

Benjamin Hemmann's sister, Laurie Hanson, begged Judge Scott Patton to reject the plea deal and asked for a jury trial instead.

"I don't think I've begun to heal at all," she said. "It has changed me as a person. It has changed my family."

Patton sympathized with Hemmann's family but said that "taking the case to trial would mean there was a possibility there would be a hung jury or no conviction at all."

And then he sentenced Richardo Onteveros, 45, to 15 years to life in prison and will be eligible for parole after serving about 85% of his sentence. 

The Alameda County District Attorney's Office had negotiated a plea deal with Onteveros, who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. 

While serving time, Onteveros converted to Islam and changed his last name to Ali. 

There were two other defendants charged in this case. 

Patton also sentenced Bryan Wu to six years in prison after he plead guilty to residential burglary. 

The third defendant, Kevin Woodruff, will be sentenced on July 2. He pleaded guilty to home invasion. 

Outside the courtroom, Onteveros' defense attorney, Steve Deflippis, told KTVU that there is a "long history" in this case and there is a lot more to what has been presented in the media. 

 "Like the judge said, there are risks in both  directions," Deflippis said. "It might have come out exactly the same as it di here today. I think it likely would have come out roughly the same."

After he was sentenced, Onteveros apologized to Hemmann's family, who did not appear to be comforted in any way.

In fact, before the hearing, Hanson said she was outraged by the plea deal and now supports the recall against District Attorney Pamela Price.  

"This is bigger than my brother," she said. "This is bigger than each individual victim. This is a crime epidemic."