Alfonso “Pancho” Fierros, one of four people accused in a Paso Robles stabbing death in August, changed his plea Thursday in San Luis Obispo Superior Court to no contest to first-degree murder.
Fierros, 33, had pleaded not guilty in September. He will be sentenced Aug. 28 to 25 years to life, prosecutors said. He will have to serve 25 years before he’s eligible for parole.
Fierros was charged with murder in the death of Robert Kenichi Uyeno, who was found lying face down in his room at the Farmhouse Motel in Paso Robles on Aug. 22 with his throat slashed.
Three others also face murder charges, including 30-year-old Tabatha Brown, 29-year-old Jennifer Velten and 42-year-old John Wesley Barrett.
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Barrett was found mentally incompetent to stand trial and his case was suspended.
Brown and Velten are scheduled to appear in court July 19.
According to a search warrant filed by Paso Robles police, the group talked on the night of the attack about how the 55-year-old victim had reportedly locked women in his bedroom and raped them.
Uyeno doesn’t have a local criminal record of any sex crime.
The four suspects allegedly planned to beat up Uyeno and steal his drugs. According to the search warrant, Barrett held Uyeno while Fierros pummeled him in the face and stomach with his fists for about two minutes.
Barrett told police Uyeno’s pulse was strong and he was breathing when the group left to return to their motel. But Velten and Fierros returned to Uyeno’s motel room after Velten said she forgot her purse, Barrett told police.
When Velten and Fierros returned, Barrett told police he heard one of them say Fierros sliced the man’s throat.
Fierros’ plea came during a pre-trial conference before Superior Court Judge John Trice. Fierros’ attorney, Gerald Carrasco, could not be reached for comment.
“We’re certainly pleased that Mr. Fierros has taken responsibility,” said Deputy District Attorney Eric Dobroth, who handled the case for the prosecutor’s office.