'Sunny Day' defendant to spend 25 years in prison for killing, robbery

Leonard Gaines received five years and four months in shooting-death deal

Another defendant in the San Mateo County sweep of East Palo Alto gang members has received a long prison sentence for his part in a 2013 murder and a separate robbery.

Leonard James Gaines, 24, was sentenced to five years and four months for the shooting death of Jonathan Alcazar, 24, on Jan. 15, 2013, in the backyard of Alcazar's Illinois Street home in East Palo Alto. The sentence was part of a deal under which he pleaded no contest in December to reduced charges of voluntary manslaughter and felony assault with a firearm. He also admitted a gang enhancement charge.

Gaines is one of four men who were charged with Alcazar's murder. The others were Raymond Bradford, Emmanuel Hyland and Tyrone Love-Lopez. They were also charged with injuring another man during the shooting.

In March 2015, Gaines was charged with first-degree murder, murder while lying in wait, a gang-related crime, being a felon in possession of a firearm, conspiracy to commit murder and assault with a deadly weapon in connection with Alcazar's death. Some of the charges were dismissed as part of the plea deal because prosecutors could not prove the allegations, according to the District Attorney's Office.

The five-year, four-month sentence will be served consecutively to a 20-year sentence Gaines received for the 2013 attempted robbery of Plaza Jewelers in Redwood City. He is one of four defendants who were arrested for the robbery as part of Operation Sunny Day, a major sweep of 16 alleged gang members accused of committing murders, attempted murders and other crimes.

In addition to the prison term, the court ordered Gaines to pay $16,983 in restitution to Alcazar's family and $5,000 to the Victim's Compensation Board.


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