Jose Angel Solorio in court
Jose Angel Solorio in court. Image from Fox 5 broadcast

A man who gunned down two men at a 4-year-old girl’s birthday party in Ramona 35 years ago, then fled the country, was sentenced Friday to 34 years to life in state prison.

Jose Angel Solorio, 62, was convicted by a San Diego jury of two counts of second-degree murder for the June 7, 1987, killings of German Aviles, 26, and Ventura Aviles, 21. The men died at the scene of the shooting, which took place at an apartment on B Street, where a celebration was held for the birthday of German Aviles’ 4-year-old daughter.

Deputy District Attorney Chris Lindberg alleged Solorio, then 27 years old, got into an argument with the victims and other men over getting more beer for the party.

The prosecutor said Solorio was angered over an apparent insult directed at him, left the party and returned a short time later with a loaded gun.

While standing in the doorway of the apartment, Solorio fatally shot German and Ventura Aviles, then shot and wounded another man inside the apartment. He then shot another man outside the apartment who was returning to the home with beer.

Solorio was located in Mexico in early 2019 and extradited to the United States later that year.

He was initially charged with murder and attempted murder for shooting all four men, but only faced two murder counts at trial in connection with the deceased victims.

The prosecutor said that as a condition of his extradition from Mexico, the attempted murder counts were dismissed and San Diego prosecutors agreed not to seek the death penalty against Solorio.

At his sentencing hearing, Solorio told San Diego Superior Court Judge Joan Weber through a Spanish-speaking interpreter, “I have been regretting this since 1987.”

German Aviles’ daughter, Alicia, said, “I’ve been waiting so long for this day. It’s sad to say it doesn’t change anything.” Aviles’ daughter said she was saddened by losing her father at such a young age, and having no concrete memories of him 35 years later.

“I hope Mr. Solorio gets a glimpse of what we went through, knowing that he has his family, but can’t see them,” she said.

Her mother, Rosario Bustamante, said that when Alicia was young, she would ask her why her other friends had fathers and she didn’t.

“I could never find the words (to explain it),” Bustamante said. She requested the judge impose the maximum sentence possible because “I know that he doesn’t have enough life left to pay for the maximum time.”

Weber had the discretion to impose his sentences concurrently, but said the impact of the murders on the victims’ families warranted consecutive terms.

She told Solorio, “You got the opportunity to live with your family, live with your children, live as a free man, while these families were devastated.”

In a statement released after the sentencing, San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan said, “Today, the families of German and Ventura Aviles received a measure of justice after decades of mourning their loss. The daughter of German Aviles had to grow up without her loving father over this senseless and violent act.”

City News Service contributed to this article.