Woman hired to lure Paso Robles man to beating is sentenced

ppemberton@thetribunenews.comJanuary 14, 2014 

A Stockton woman who was hired to entice one man so another could assault him was sentenced Tuesday to four years in prison.

Crystal Lynn Garner, 27, is one of several defendants allegedly commissioned to assault Victor Hugo Sanchez, 37, of Paso Robles. Four months after the initial assault, Sanchez was killed in front of his apartment complex in Paso Robles.

The District Attorney’s Office believes Maria del Carmen Granados Fajardo, 50, paid a total of $12,000 to have Sanchez, her ex-boyfriend, assaulted on both occasions.

According to court records, the first assault, in October 2012, began when Garner sent Sanchez a text, saying, “I want to hook up.” Sanchez didn’t recognize the number, so he called it, and the woman who answered identified herself as Crystal. Garner told Sanchez they’d previously met at a bar, and she said she wanted to meet him there again.

Sanchez agreed to meet her at Pappy McGregor’s Bar & Grill in San Luis Obispo, but he did not recognize Garner when he saw her there. Still, the two later left together after Garner said she wanted to have sex. During the drive home, Garner pulled over, allowing a second car to pull in behind them. A man from that car pummeled Sanchez with a pipe wrench.

Sanchez suffered a broken arm and nose during the assault.

After that, Fajardo allegedly ordered a second assault — this one to be more severe — and a kidnapping. Instead, he was fatally shot.

Fajardo and several others still face charges. In July, Garner’s sister, Christine Lee Garner, 25, of Ceres, agreed to a plea bargain requiring her to serve eight years in prison for robbery, conspiracy and accessory after the fact for her role in the case. Last month, Crystal Garner’s boyfriend, Joseph Villarreal Jr. 24, was sentenced to six years in prison for his involvement in the case.

Crystal Garner previously pleaded no contest to conspiracy to commit robbery and battery with great bodily injury. During her plea, it was agreed she would receive a four-year term.

“She took early responsibility for her involvement, and she was remorseful,” said her attorney, Harold Mesick, after her sentencing.

Mesick said Garner was under the influence of methamphetamines when she was involved in the crime and would not have been involved had she been drug-free.

While Christine Garner plans to testify in the murder case, there are no plans for Crystal Garner to testify, Mesick said.

Fajardo’s preliminary hearing is set for next month.

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