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Final sentence handed down for burning death

POSTED May 8, 2012 8:36 p.m.

The final defendant in the 2007 case of a woman kidnapped and burned alive over a drug debt was sentenced to life in prison on Monday.

Omar Cebrero, 23, of Turlock was the last defendant of four to be tried and convicted for the kidnapping, torture and murder of Rosa Avina. On Monday Cebrero was sentenced in Merced County Superior Court to life in prison without parole.

Cebrero’s conviction stems from events that transpired on the night of Oct. 24, 2007, when Avina was kidnapped from a Turlock home during a staged home invasion robbery.

She was bound, gagged, blindfolded and placed into the trunk of a Pontiac Grand Am, and was driven to a Delhi home, where five men discussed how they could “rough up” Avina because she allegedly took a pound of marijuana from one of the men.

Avina was driven to an orchard in Ballico, where she was thrown into the hull of an abandoned boat, doused with gasoline and set on fire.

Avina was burned over the majority of her body, but was able to walk to a farmhouse nearly a mile away in an effort to get help. She was air lifted to a burn unit in the Bay Area and died from her injuries two days later.

The other defendants — Luis Valencia, Urbano Ortega and Alvaro Reyes, were previously convicted on the same charges and given life sentences without parole.

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