Caballero sentenced for murder, theft

A Golden Valley man convicted of a drive-by murder in Kingman was sentenced Tuesday to 23 years in prison.

Jesus Caballero was convicted in May 23 of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Raymond Viera in a car on Nov.

15, 2001 in the 3600 block of Schaffer Avenue.

Caballero also was convicted of aggravated assault of car's driver, Vanessa Wise, who was not hurt.

Caballero had been charged with first-degree murder but a jury found him guilty of second-degree murder.

Superior Court Judge Steven Conn sentenced Caballero to 17 years in prison for second-degree murder and six years in prison for aggravated assault.

The sentences will be served consecutively.

Caballero also recently pleaded guilty to stealing a motorcycle in Bullhead City a few days earlier than the shooting.

Conn sentenced Caballero to three and a half years for vehicle theft, which will be served concurrently with the murder sentence.

Conn cited the use of a gun in the killing and vehicle theft as aggravating factors.

Caballero's attorney Lee Novak argued for a mitigating sentence, saying Caballero did not have an extensive criminal record, that he grew up with an abusive father and had a long history of drug abuse.

Novak also spoke of his client's fear of Viera and that Viera stole Caballero's gun from his house and threatened to shoot him, Novak said.

Novak also argued that the aggravated assault and murder sentences should not be served consecutively.

Novak called Mohave County Public Defender's Office investigator Jim Benson and Deputy Mohave County Probation Officer Elaine Grissom to the stand to testify of Caballero's drug use even at 14 years old.

Caballero also spoke, reading from a letter stating how he viewed Viera as a friend, but later feared him because of his potential for violence.

Caballero said he acted in self defense, and he said the Mohave County Sheriff's Office conducted an incompetent investigation of the crime scene.

He also accused Wise of lying.

She testified during the trial that she drove Viera from Caballero's house and that Caballero followed them in another vehicle driven by Michael Platt.

She testified that she pulled her vehicle over and was coming to a stop when she heard five shots.

Wise testified she saw a bullet strike Viera, who was sitting in the passenger seat.

Deputy Mohave County Attorney Greg McPhillips argued that the jury found that Caballero did not act in self defense.

He also said that Caballero acted without remorse even by his own statements during Tuesday's sentencing.

McPhillips also called Viera's sister Arlene Viera to the stand who testified on her brother's behalf.

She also said Caballero never showed any remorse, acting cold and callous throughout the case.

"All I wanted to know is why?" she said.

"He hasn't said anything to that."

Caballero was arrested Nov.

28, 2001, at a Kingman residence after a two-week manhunt.

Mohave County Sheriff's detectives arrested Platt shortly after the shooting after locating the truck at Gordon Drive and Castle Rock Road.

Platt was charged with hindering prosecution and received probation after pleading guilty to that charge last year.