2 deals could nail shooter in murder of Kerman farmer

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George Salwasser, Jr., was shot and killed in May 2014 when he interrupted the dismantling of a stolen pickup on his property. (KFSN)

Fresno County sheriff's deputies arrested four people for the Salwasser murder last year. Two of them admitted to their roles Thursday. They'll both go to prison and they'll both have to testify against the other two if the case goes to trial.

An unfortunate series of dangerous decisions led Adrian Aceves to this point Thursday. With an interpreter's help, he admitted to manslaughter in the death of George Salwasser.

"Do you understand that charge sir?" Judge Denise Whitehead asked him.

"Yes," Aceves said.

"How do you plead?" the judge asked.

"Guilty," Aceves answered.

Aceves crossed Salwasser's path only once and by accident. He says he arrived at the farmer's Kerman area property to strip a pickup truck and sell the rims to Jose Canas. But before the job was done, Salwasser arrived and as he called 911, he confronted the trespassers.

"My client just left," said Aceves' defense attorney Ralph Avila. "He started running and as he was running away, he heard a couple gunshots and he looked back and Mr. Canas was there holding the gun."

Maria Mansanalez was the driver that day, but video from a nearby market shows she wasn't there when Salwasser was killed.

She pleaded guilty Thursday to being an accessory after the murder because she picked up Aceves afterwards. And like her boyfriend, she agreed to testify against the remaining two defendants -- Canas and her own brother Fabian, who's accused of initiating the dangerous decisions by stealing the pickup.

In the end, though, her attorney say it's what she has to do -- both to avoid a murder trial herself, and to show her remorse.

"She was heartbroken that the result of this incident was the death of Mr. Salwasser," said Linden Lindahl.

Aceves could get up to 11 years and eight months in prison. Maria Mansanalez won't get more than three years and eight months.

The murder trial against Canas and Fabian Mansanalez is scheduled for August.

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crimetrackerhomicidemanslaughtercourtcourt caseshootingKermanFresno County
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