Fresno man sentenced for murder and arson

FRESNO – A judge sentenced a Fresno man to 46 years to life in prison for murdering a police informant on Monday.

Johnny Aguilar Jr., 31, had been found guilty on Nov. 3 by a jury for second-degree murder and arson in connection with the death of 52-year-old Mary Bustamonte.

On July 2, 2009, firefighters found Bustamonte’s burned body in her charred room at the Sahara Motel, just east of Roeding Park. Prosecutor Steve Wright said that Aguilar beat and strangled Bustamonte because he found out she was working as a Fresno police informant. Wright said that Aguilar then set Bustamonte’s motel room on fire to cover up the crime.

During the trial, Aguilar testified that he and Bustamonte were friends and that they were doing drugs together in her hotel room that day. He said he didn’t kill Bustamonte and that she was alive when he left.

During the sentencing phase of the trial in Fresno Superior Court on Monday, Judge Edward Sarkisian Jr. said that Aguilar had shown a “total lack of remorse” for Bustamonte’s death. He sentenced Aguilar, who has a prior felony assault conviction, to 30 years to life in prison for killing Bustamonte and 16 years for setting the motel room on fire.


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