A man already sentenced to more than 85 years to life behind bars for failing to tell law enforcement about armed people holed up in his apartment, leading to the death of a San Diego police officer, pleaded guilty Wednesday to a related charge of conspiracy to dissuade a witness from testifying.

Alex Charfauros, 29, was convicted last year of second-degree murder in connection with the death of Officer Christopher Wilson in an Oct. 27, 2010, shootout.

Existing Central Courthouse in downtown San Diego.  Photo by Chris Stone
Existing Central Courthouse in downtown San Diego. Photo by Chris Stone

As his trial approached, Charfauros was charged with talking with a former cellmate and the former cellmate’s girlfriend about a witness in the murder case.

Charfauros will be sentenced on April 24 to a year in prison consecutive to the 85 years to life, plus 11 years, he received last September.

In a plea agreement attachment, Charfauros admitted that after receiving police reports in the case, he learned by reading the witness statement of Kristoffer Macalma that Macalma told police investigators that Charfauros knew his former roommate, Holim Lee, kept firearms at their apartment prior to the shootout that claimed Wilson’s life.

Charfauros admitted that he wanted to keep Macalma from coming to court and testifying about what he told police.

Charfauros said he agreed with former cellmate Rodney Gozum and Gozum’s girlfriend, Jasmine Fontanoza that by spreading the word that Macalma was a “snitch,” other people would use force and/or fear to try to prevent Macalma from testifying in court.

Both Gozum and Fontanoza pleaded guilty in the case.

The night of Oct. 27, 2010, probation officers and U.S. marshals went to Charfauros’ apartment on South Meadowbrook Drive. Probation officers were checking on Charfauros, and the marshals were looking for Lee, who had outstanding warrants for assault and a probation violation, prosecutor Michael Runyon said.

Another man opened the door and said Charfauros wasn’t home, then slammed it shut. Officers forced entry into the apartment and Charfauros came crawling out of the east bedroom.

Once outside, officers asked Charfauros if there were any guns, drugs or anyone else inside, but the defendant was uncooperative, Runyon said.

A number of officers were called to assist, including Wilson. Once inside, an officer kicked in the door of the west bedroom and “all hell broke loose at that point,” Runyon said.

Wilson, a 50-year-old father of two and 17-year veteran of the San Diego Police Department, was shot in the head and died a short time later.

Charfauros had not told law enforcement that Lee and his girlfriend, Lucky Xayasene, were living in the apartment and that four guns and a shotgun were “waiting on those officers,” Runyon said. Charfauros also failed to inform officers that Patrick Luangrath and Melissa Ortiz were in the apartment.

The bodies of Lee — believed to be the shooter — and Xayasene were found in the west bedroom with self-inflicted gunshot wounds.

 –City News Service