abdu delgado


One of the pair of West Park gang members who settled his case last month was sentenced to 15 years in state prison Thursday after pleading guilty to being an accessory in the 2016 murder of Luis Alberto Castaneira. 

Castaneira was killed following a fight Sept. 10, 2016, that occurred outside of a residence believed to be affiliated with northwest Santa Maria gang members in the 900 block of West McElhaney Avenue. 

Abdu Rai Delgado, 25, of Santa Maria, was ready to go to trial with his co-defendant Pedro Santos Mora earlier this month but settled his case July 23. Besides pleading guilty to being an accessory to the murder, Delgado admitted special gang enhancements, along with having prior felony convictions. 

Mora, who pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter, will be sentenced to 22 years in state prison Nov. 15. His sentencing was delayed Thursday morning to give defense ample time to file a Franklin brief, which will outline recommendations for individuals under the age of 23 when they committed a crime. Mora was 20 at the time of the incident. 

Delgado was reportedly driving the car that contained four West Park members the day of Castaneira's death -- Mora, and two other juveniles, Daniel Montelongo and Fernando Garibay. 

Sign up to receive headlines in your inbox!

Breaking News | Local Sports | Daily Headlines | Local Obituaries | Weather | Local Offers

Mora was sitting in the front passenger seat of the car Delgado was driving, then reportedly told Delgado to turn onto McElhaney Drive, and informed the group that he knew one of the residences was occupied by rival gang members.

Two men, one of them Castaneira, were outside in the front yard as Delgado's car drove by. Castaneira was reportedly high on methamphetamine and called out to the group. Delgado saw Castaneira and made a U-turn and parked a few houses down, according to preliminary hearing testimony. 

Castaneira approached the car first and challenged the group before Mora climbed out of the vehicle and began fighting him before fatally wounding Castaneira with a knife.

Montelongo and Garibay were arrested and charged first in September 2016; Mora and Delgado were arrested two months later.

Montelongo and Garibay were both charged as adults, and reached settlements in their cases in 2017. Garibay pleaded to assault causing great bodily injury, and Montelongo pleaded to being an accessory after the fact.

Gina Kim covers crime and courts for Santa Maria Times. Follow her on Twitter @gina_k210