May 30, 2024
Jose Campos, who was 16 at the time of the 2019 shooting, was ordered confined until his 25th birthday for killing 17-year-old Aliciabelen “A.B.” Villa.

WALNUT CREEK — A 19-year-old man was sentenced as a juvenile for murdering an Oakley teen when he was 16, maxing out his possible confinement to his 25th birthday, court records recently revealed.

Jose Campos pleaded no contest to second-degree murder in the death of 17-year-old Aliciabelen “A.B.” Vela, who died after a fatal shooting in Antioch on Nov. 5, 2019. Vela’s boyfriend was also wounded by gunfire but survived the shooting.

Campos and his co-defendant were arrested within days of the shooting but both were charged as juveniles, where public access to courts are limited and prosecutors claim they’re barred from revealing details of hearings. But a recently filed appellate court decision has shed light on the outcome of Campos’ case.

Police at the time called Vela’s killing the result either a setup or a disagreement during a minor marijuana deal. Vela’s boyfriend allegedly arranged to buy a single joint of marijuana from Campos’ co-defendant, Julian “JuJu” Martinez, who was also 16 at the time. During the deal, Campos allegedly opened fire, killing Vela and wounding her 17-year-old boyfriend, police said.

Both Campos and Martinez and several members of their respective families were associated with the Norteño gang, according to the appellate court decision. During the investigation, police searched property belonging to Campos’ family and seized 15 guns and $120,000 in cash, court documents say.

The appeals court decision didn’t address Campos’ sentence but reaffirmed a restitution order for the victims’ families.

The family of Vela’s boyfriend opposed the sentence, according to court records. His mother spoke out in court, saying her son was severely traumatized and that she wished the case had been prosecuted in adult court, where criminal penalties are much stiffer.

Under state law, 16-year-olds can be tried as adults but it requires a judge’s approval and state lawmakers seem to be urging prosecutors to go in a different direction; a state law passed in 2019 outright forbids anyone younger than 16 from being tried as an adult.

Details of the outcome of Martinez’s case weren’t immediately available.