Fontana man sentenced to life in prison in murder of ex-girlfriend's father in 2013

FONTANA, Calif. (KABC) -- A Fontana man has been sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for murdering the father of his ex-girlfriend in 2013, the San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office said Tuesday.

The body of 40-year-old Alejandro Padilla was found inside his burning car in July 2013. A month later, Fontana police arrested 21-year-old Edward Morales and 18-year-old Richard Gonzalez in connection to Padilla's death.

Alejandro Padilla, 40, is seen in an undated file photo.

Alejandro Padilla, 40, is seen in an undated file photo.

Morales' mother, 41-year-old Alma Quezada, was also arrested as an accessory after the fact of murder.

Morales knew Padilla because he had dated his daughter.

According to Deputy District Attorney Reza Daghbandan, who prosecuted the case, Morales and Gonzalez decided to rob Padilla, because they believed he often carried a lot of money.

"On the day of the crime, both defendants waited for the victim to come out of his home to go to work," Daghbandan said. "When he came out of his house, they confronted him with a bat and a gun and then dragged him into his own car."

While Morales was driving, Gonzalez was in the back of the car, beating Padilla with a gun and stabbing him with scissors. At some point, Padilla died in the car. Morales left the car at a park, and Gonzales later returned to burn it, according to a news release from the San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office.

During Morales' sentencing hearing, Padilla's two daughters stood alongside District Attorney Victim Advocate Wendy Salas and read the following statement on behalf of their mother:

"Our lives have forever been changed. We no longer can hear the voice that brought us so much happiness and laughter. And for a long time since that day, we have felt so much pain and anger. He took away my best friend, my husband, the father of my girls. It brings me to tears to know that they won't ever be able to walk down the aisle on their wedding day with their dad's hand next to them, that they can no longer go to him when they are feeling sad and need a comforting hug."

Gonzalez committed suicide while in custody two days after his arrest, the district attorney's office said. Quezada was sentenced in September 2015 to 19 days in county jail.

Morales pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact in September 2015. He was convicted in November 2016 of first-degree murder, robbery, carjacking and kidnapping for the purpose of robbery.
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