By Stacey Olson

The Emporia Gazette

One of six men involved in the 2017 murder of Jesus Avila received just under four years in prison following a Friday morning hearing in the Lyon County District Court.

Armando Nunez, 21, was sentenced to serve 47 consecutive months under three charges, including attempted burglary of a motor vehicle with intent to steal a firearm, interference with law enforcement officer and criminal damages to property.

“There is a price to pay for the crimes you have committed,” Judge W. Lee Fowler said. “In this case, that price requires you to serve a prison sentence ordered by the court today. I do note that based on your council’s statement and my observations that you have appeared after this instance that happened four, five years ago made major changes in your life and made a lot of progress toward becoming a productive member of society.”

When entering the court Nunez was joined by his lawyer and a large group of his loved ones to hear Nunez’s sentencing.

“This is a rare sentencing because today we actually have the benefit of hindsight,” Vincent James Rivera, Nunez’s lawyer said. “Today we are sentencing a 21-year-old man for things that took place when he was 16 years old, for his actions when he was 16 years old. Some of the questions we ask ourselves at sentencing is what are the chances what are the chances this person is going to move on, reoffend? What are the chances that this person is going to be a danger to the community?”

Nunez pleaded no contest to lesser charges May 11. He was originally charged with arson, aggravated robbery and the murder of 19-year-old Avila. Nunez has 92 days previously served credited towards his 47 month sentence.

“First your honor, I would like to say that I am sorry about all this situation,’’ Nunez said. “I am sorry that I am being presented here again before you, I know you told me not to come back. But I would like to say like my lawyer said, I have turned myself around, I have done better, I am doing better and I wish to continue to do better. I got my job, I had my kid, I want to continue to take care of my family like I was in the future. And I would like to say that no matter what happens today, I will strive forward and continue to strive forward the rest of my life.”

He was taken into custody immediately following the sentencing.

Nunez, Jordy Cornejo-Campoverde, Alan Alanis and Jovan Pecina, all from Emporia, were arrested on Aug. 18, 2021 in Lyon County. Andrew John “AJ” Granado, 21, of Tulsa, Okla., was also arrested the same day in Oklahoma.

The arrests came after nearly four years of investigation.

Samuel Garcia, the sixth man and accused gunman, was charged Dec. 10, 2021. Garcia made his first appearance connected to the case in Lyon County District Court Thursday, where his preliminary hearing was rescheduled for Monday, October 31.

Requested from his attorney in a motion document, Mark Schoenhofer explained he “simply cannot become sufficiently acquainted with the vast amount of discovery” by the end of July.

Schoenhofer, who is based near downtown Wichita, became Garcia’s attorney in late April. The authorities provided Garcia’s attorney with evidence and he is still reviewing more than one terabyte of it.

Garcia is charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, two counts of aggravated robbery, arson and interference with a law enforcement officer.

Garcia is also serving a sentence at Larned Correctional Center for aggravated kidnapping and aggravated battery convictions from 2018. For Thursday’s meeting he was transported to Emporia.

Cornejo-Campoverde’s sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 12.

Alanis will appear on July 25 for a preliminary hearing. Granado and Pecina are scheduled for a final pretrial hearing on Aug. 3.

(5) comments


Wow…so “I’m sorry” is the magic answer for taking someone’s life? That’s just insane! Of course “he’s changed,” he doesn’t want to spend the biggest part of his life in prison! That’s not rocket science my friends! I’m sorry is the worlds biggest lie…if you were sorry and it makes you feel bad, well, you should know better than to commit the crime or ill act! What if that had that been your kid there murderers??

Mom of Three

This was not nearly long enough for what those "kids" did to that young man. They all deserve much longer sentences. I don't care how "reformed" they say this one is, he helped brutalize and murder a young man. I feel for the family of the victim.


What a joke a slap on the hand for something like that


No joke here! Our Legal System is complex, complicated, and confusing, and "the best we can do", until we do better. There's always BETTER. This one is, indeed, a sad tale.


I agree, our legal system is indeed very complex and complicated. What makes this such a sad tale is that a man is dead, and now his family must see that not all those accused of his murder are punished severely enough. I can understand why Judge Fowler had considered the age of the accused, but still, I cannot help but consider the mother and father of the boy who was murdered.

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