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A man and woman pleaded guilty to murder and attempted murder charges this week stemming from a 2018 South Bay crime spree that left one man dead and a woman paralyzed after she was shot multiple times.

Cesar Alvarado, 43, and Britney Canal, 34, are expected to be sentenced to state prison terms for the April 11, 2018, killing of Mario Serhan, who the defendants mistakenly believed was an undercover police officer surveilling them in Chula Vista. They also pleaded guilty to the attempted murder of a woman who prosecutors said was kidnapped, then shot multiple times at Sunset Cliffs.

Alvarado is expected to be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, while Canal is set to be sentenced to 30 years to life in prison, according to Deputy District Attorney David Grapilon.

A third defendant, Michael Pedraza, 32, remains charged with murder, attempted murder and other crimes, while another co-defendant, 33-year-old Francisco Aranda, pleaded guilty to other charges and was sentenced earlier this year to five years in state prison.

Prosecutors say Alvarado, Canal and Pedraza were in a car that followed Serhan’s SUV along Industrial Boulevard on the afternoon of April 11.

Canal was driving the vehicle, which pulled up next to Serhan. Alvarado then shot the victim in the head, prosecutors say.

A woman who was in the backseat of Canal’s vehicle during Serhan’s murder was taken to Sunset Cliffs at about 2 a.m. on April 12, accused of being a “snitch,” then allegedly shot three times by Pedraza. The woman, who prosecutors said had been robbed and kidnapped by the defendants earlier that week, was shot in the head and hip, with a third bullet going through her neck and striking her spinal cord, paralyzing her.

The defendants were arrested a few days after Serhan’s killing following a police pursuit that stretched from San Ysidro to National City.

At the time, police and prosecutors also said the defendants were involved in a string of other crimes, including another shooting, a second kidnapping and multiple robberies.

City News Service contributed to this article.



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Ellen Bullock