A gang member was sentenced today to 15 years to life in prison for his involvement in the racially motivated stabbing death of a 27-year-old man outside a Carlsbad bar last year.
Juan Rocha, 21, was convicted in August of second-degree murder in the March 25, 2011, death of Devin Allen.
Police said Rocha and a second man – identified as Pedro Avalos – confronted Allen and a friend about 10:30 p.m. as they walked to their car near Hensley's Flying Elephant Pub and Grill (the restaurant has since been renamed Flying Elephant Pub and Grill).
Investigators said the victim had no gang ties, but was targeted because he was black in a neighborhood claimed by a Latino street gang.
According to police, Rocha asked Allen if he had a lighter, then asked if Allen and his friend knew who he was and that they were in gang territory. Either Rocha or Avalos – who remains at large – stabbed Allen once in the stomach and fled, police said.
–City News Service