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Man Sentenced to Life Without Parole for Gambling Den Killing in San Diego

Man Sentenced to Life Without Parole for Gambling Den Killing in San Diego

A file photograph of a judge's gavel. (Andrew Harnik/Pool/Getty Images)

City News Service

City News Service

8/18/2023

Updated: 8/18/2023

SAN DIEGO, Calif.—A man who ran an illegal gambling den out of his Paradise Hills home and killed a man there was sentenced to life in prison on Aug. 18 without the possibility of parole.
Glen Montano, 43, was convicted by a San Diego jury of first-degree murder and a special-circumstance allegation of lying in wait in the June 5, 2020, killing of 44-year-old Sean Nixon. Mr. Montano’s brother and co-defendant, 35-year-old Alfredo Montano, was also convicted of first-degree murder and was sentenced to 25 years to life in state prison last month.
According to police and prosecutors, Mr. Nixon was strangled with a strap from a marijuana grow tent. His body was found the following morning in the home’s garage, where the gambling operation was being conducted.
While at the home, Mr. Nixon attempted to take a fannypack containing money and was initially kicked out, but was later allowed back inside, according to Deputy District Attorney Michael Reilly. Later that night, the brothers “launched a surprise, coordinated attack” on Mr. Nixon while the victim’s back was turned, Mr. Reilly alleged.
The prosecutor said Mr. Montano first threw the strap around Mr. Nixon’s neck and choked him. When that failed to kill him, Mr. Reilly said Mr. Montano used a garbage bag to try to suffocate him and finally pressed a Bible on top of Mr. Nixon’s face as the victim lay on his back.
Mr. Montano’s defense attorney, Amy Hoffman, argued at trial that after Mr. Nixon tried to rob the defendants, he made violent threats to the home’s occupants and refused to leave.
She argued Mr. Montano acted in self-defense when Mr. Nixon threatened others in the home, but did not intend to kill Mr. Nixon. Mr. Hoffman also argued drug use likely played a role in her client’s perception of the situation.
The prosecutor said that while Glenn Montano strangled the victim, Alfredo Montano struck Mr. Nixon multiple times and kicked him.
Two other co-defendants, Joshua Barnum, 33, and Leaoaisemativa “Lulu” Sandoval, 30, were also charged with murder in the case for allegedly assisting in the killing and helping get rid of evidence.
Mr. Barnum was convicted of murder and is slated to be sentenced next month, but jurors were unable to reach verdicts regarding Ms. Sandoval, who is due back in court in December.
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