OAKLAND - Three suspected gang members pleaded no contest today to charges that they were responsible for the 2011 shooting death in East Oakland of a man they mistakenly believed belonged to a rival gang.

Jose Romero, 21, pleaded no contest to second-degree murder for fatally shooting 20-year-old Jesus Razo Jr. in the 9800 block of Maddux Drive at about 11:15 p.m. on Aug. 12, 2011, and Juan Cardenas, 21, and Irwing Vareavilla, 20, both pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter.

The plea agreements call for Romero to serve 15 years to life in state prison and for Cardenas and Vareavilla both to serve 12 years.

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Paul Delucchi, who accepted the pleas today, is scheduled to sentence Romero on April 14, Cardenas on April 25 and Vareavilla on May 2.

Oakland police said the three men planned the shooting and hunted down Razo, who was not a gang member but had friends who were gang members.

Razo, who worked at a carwash, was shot near his home in East Oakland, police said.

The no contest pleas by the three men came on the day that their preliminary hearing was scheduled to begin.

In exchange for their pleas, the Alameda County District Attorney's Office dismissed additional charges and enhancement clauses that could have resulted in longer prison terms if the men had stood trial and been convicted.



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