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Gang member gets life

He was one of two who shot a blind man in a car during an argument.

June 26, 2010|Joseph Serna, joseph.serna@latimes.com

A Costa Mesa gang member was sentenced to life without parole Friday for his part in executing a fellow gang member for his car in 2006.

Aurelio Saldivar, 31, was sentenced for helping to kill Raffi Yessayan, a blind, Armenian albino who owned a customized car.

Though the black Nissan sedan with custom rims belonged to Yessayan, he had his friends drive him around. On June 6, 2006, Saldivar and two other men were riding in Yessayan's car in Orange when Yessayan got into an argument with Ruben Oliveros, one of the other men in the car. Oliveros allegedly pulled out a gun and shot Yessayan in the back of the head. Yessayan had turned 26 the day before.

Saldivar grabbed the gun and shot Yessayan too. The men dumped his body in a nearby parking lot then disassembled his car at a friend's house and hid the gun.

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Saldivar was not eligible for parole because of the sentencing enhancements of street terrorism and killing Yessayan for the benefit of a gang. Oliveros was convicted of murder but was granted a new trial in February. He's scheduled to be back in court next month.

The third man in the car, Marco Charcas-Fernandez was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to five years in prison.

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