$200 payday led car thief to murder charges in Fresno County

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A $200 payday is all that was at stake when a car thief pulled a caper that led to him facing charges for the murder of a Biola farmer. We heard Tuesday from two of the people involved in the crime leading up to the deadly confrontation.

It all started with the truck. Fabian Mansanalez stole it and concocted a plan to sell off the parts. He enlisted help from his sister, Maria, and her boyfriend, Adrian Aceves -- who brought in a possible buyer in a guy they only knew by the name "Shy Boy."

Mansanalez was hoping for a $200 payday for the truck's rims. Aceves would get $100. But it all fell apart when farmer George Salwasser interrupted them in the act, on his property. By that time, only Aceves was with "Shy Boy", whose real name is Jose Canas. On Tuesday, Aceves couldn't control his emotions as he remembered the showdown that changed his life forever and ended Salwasser's.

"Where was Jose Canas when the person showed up?" prosecutor Bill Lacy asked Aceves.

"He was taking off the rims," Aceves answered, through tears.

Aceves says he ran away from the confrontation as soon as he thought Salwasser's focus was on Canas. As he ran, he heard two shots and took a second to turn around to see what he was leaving behind.

"I saw Jose Canas standing and the man was on the ground," he said.

Aceves called Fabian Mansanalez to come back and get him. And he was panicked when he tried to tell Fabian and Maria what was happening.

"He yells to 'go go go' because (Canas) shot (Salwasser)," said Maria Mansanalez.

Canas is scheduled to face a murder trial in November. Aceves and Maria Mansanalez both agreed to plea deals to avoid murder charges. Fabian Mansanalez did not. Even though he wasn't there when the shooting happened, prosecutors say he initiated the criminal act, and Salwasser's death was a natural and probable consequence. The defense says Mansanalez had no way to know it would end in gunfire.

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