Man Pleads Guilty, Sentenced 7 Years For Fatal Shooting In Orange

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SANTA ANA (CNS) - A 23-year-old Santa Ana man pleaded guilty Monday and was immediately sentenced to seven years in prison for fatally shooting a man in the city of Orange about a year ago.

Joseph Andrew Ruelas pleaded guilty to a felony count of voluntary manslaughter and admitted a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a deadly weapon.

As part of the plea deal, a charge of murder with a sentencing enhancement for firing a gun were dismissed. Ruelas faced 50 years to life in prison if convicted at trial.

Ruelas was given credit for 469 days in jail.

Police were called just after midnight Nov. 28, 2021, to the 2000 block of East Fairway Drive regarding some sort of a disturbance, and when officers arrived they found 39-year-old Michael Tovar of Anaheim on the sidewalk suffering from a gunshot wound, police said.

Tovar was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

Investigators said Tovar had gone over to an ex-girlfriend's home that night, and she felt threatened by him and called her sister and her boyfriend, Ruelas, for help, according to Ruelas' attorney, Scott Simmons.

Tovar had kicked in the ex-girlfriend's door and was shot at some point during the conflict, Simmons said.

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