|Robert Eugene Vasquez|
By Paloma Esquivel
An Orange County man who killed a neighbor in his mobile home park because the neighbor was a sex offender was sentenced Friday to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Robert Eugene Vasquez, 36, was convicted in June of stabbing neighbor [name withheld] to death. Prosecutors said Vasquez waited outside [name withheld]'s home in a San Juan Capistrano mobile home park on the morning of Dec. 1, 2011, intending to kill [name withheld] because he was a registered sex offender.
Vasquez's mother had told her son and others that [name withheld] was a child molester. In fact, [name withheld] had been convicted of assault with intent to commit rape, an offense that obligated him to register as a sex offender but did not involve a child, said Orange County Senior Deputy Dist. Atty. Ebrahim Baytieh.
When [name withheld] walked outside his home, Vasquez attacked him, punching him in the back of the head and stabbing him until he was nearly decapitated.
Two days later, as sheriff’s deputies investigated the murder, Vasquez attacked a friend at the friend's home in San Juan Capistrano with a metal object. The friend survived but suffered major injuries.
Vasquez was convicted of one felony count of special circumstances murder and one felony count of aggravated assault.
During the sentencing, a statement from members of [name withheld]'s family was read to the court. The family and its neighbors were “hurting because of the action you chose that morning. We are getting better as time goes by, but we will not forget [name withheld]. We will always have loving thoughts of [name withheld] and the fun time we shared with him,” according to a statement from the Orange County district attorney’s office.
"We live in a free country," Baytieh said. "People have a right not to like someone. People have a right to not like what someone has done. But no one has a right to kill someone."