SANTA ROSA (BCN) - A Richmond man was sentenced in Sonoma County Superior Court Monday morning to two years in prison for renting a car for two suspects in the murder of an 84-year-old Penngrove woman in February.
John Bruno Martinez, 27, pleaded no contest in March to two felony counts of being an accessory after the fact to burglary, robbery, false imprisonment and murder of Olga Dinelli in her Penngrove home.
The murder suspects, Victor Silva, 27, and Stephanie Hill, 37, both of Novato, allegedly tied up Dinelli, shot her in the face and stole her 1995 Lexus.
Martinez rented a car for Silva and Hill but was unaware of the murder, his attorney Jenny Andrews said at his sentencing this morning.
Silva and Hill drove the rental car, a Chevrolet Tahoe, to Southern California, where Riverside County sheriff's deputies pursued them on eastbound Interstate Highway 10 on Feb. 28.
They allegedly shot at passing motorists and at a Quartzsite police officer when they entered La Paz County in Arizona, La Paz County sheriff's Lt. Curt Bagby said.
Silva surrendered after the SUV went off the road, but Hill allegedly brandished a weapon and was shot and killed by a Riverside County sheriff's deputy, Bagby said.
Silva is being prosecuted in La Paz County for fleeing police and for Hill's murder because she was killed while she and Hill allegedly were committing a crime.
Andrews asked Judge Robert LaForge to sentence Martinez to probation. She said Martinez was connected to the chain of crimes at Dinelli's home but played no direct role.
Martinez was frightened of Hill because she was acting erratically and had a gun at his house when they came to him to rent a car, Andrews said. Martinez also said he would not hide the stolen Lexus, Andrews said.
Sonoma County Chief Deputy District Attorney Brian Staebell argued Martinez provided a getaway car and had been trafficking in stolen weapons. He said Martinez was given a gun and $1,000 for helping Silva and Hill.
"He facilitated the escape and he knew it and he harbored them for some time," Staebell said.
Martinez suspected someone got shot in a robbery or a drug deal gone bad, Staebell said.
Martinez told the judge he did not know someone was murdered until he was interviewed by detectives and he also apologized this morning to his family and Dinelli's family.
"I'm not a bad guy. I just had a total lapse of judgment," Martinez said.
Michael Dinelli, the slain woman's nephew, told the court his aunt had no children and she raised him like a son.
"The cold-blooded nature of the murder is beyond words. Our family is in shock and disarray," Michael Dinelli said.
The robbery, burglary and murder happened in a community where everyone knows everyone and people do not lock their doors, he said.
Martinez's father James also apologized to the Dinelli family.
Martinez faced a maximum of three years and eight months in prison. Judge LaForge agreed that Martinez made poor choices and decisions and was getting stolen handguns. What Martinez knew is unclear, but he knew something violent happened, LaForge said.
Martinez will serve his two-year term in Sonoma County Jail. LaForge suspended the last four months of his sentence and Martinez has 88 days credit for time served.
With two days credit for each day served in the county jail, Martinez will serve about eight months in jail, prosecutors said.