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Court: Life without parole for 2006 murder of Turlock man
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A Modesto man will spend the rest of his life in prison for the murder and robbery of a Turlock man.Ramon Guardado, 26, was handed down a sentence of life without the possibility of parole, plus an additional year for the use of a knife. The sentence was imposed Friday by Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge Scott Steffen, nearly a year and a half after Guardado’s conviction and four years since the homicide.Guardado was convicted in December 2008 of first degree murder for the stabbing death of 48-year-old Joseph Badal of Turlock.Badal was a native of Urmia, Iran and worked as a machine operator at Hilmar Cheese Company.On the night of May 10, 2006, Badal met Guardado and Monica Arias in the parking lot of a bar on Crows Landing Road. According to the court documents, Badal and Arias had been talking to each other via cell phones that night because he was interested in meeting one of her friends.Badal agreed to give the two a ride and they drove to a remote neighborhood on Parkdale Drive in southwest Modesto.It was in this neighborhood that Guardado suddenly pulled a steak knife from his pocket and held it to Badal’s neck, demanding Badal hand over his Toyota 4-Runner.Badal and Guardado struggled and Badal was slashed across his chin, forehead, and shoulder before Guardado delivered the fatal strike to his heart.Badal was able to get out of the vehicle, but slumped to the ground, mortally wounded according to the prosecution.Guardado and Arias left in Badal’s vehicle, but in their flight they struck a tree, which alerted a neighbor, who in turn contacted the authorities. Within minutes investigators were at the crime scene and a description of the vehicle and the two occupants had been sent out.Arias was taken into custody hours later behind the wheel of Badal’s 4-Runner. Guardado was arrested the following day.Arias and Guardado were tried separately. In 2007, Arias was acquitted by a jury of first degree murder. Arias testified that she was in the vehicle, but said she had no idea Guardado was going to pull a knife on Badal.The Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office had given the jury in Arias’ case an all or nothing option when it came to a verdict. The jury was asked to convict under a legal rule that the commission of a violent crime such as a robbery or carjacking, which leads to a fatality, can be held responsible for first degree murder whether the defendant meant to kill the victim or not. After their deliberations the jury concluded there was not enough evidence to prove Arias knew of Guardado’s plan to carjack Badal.Badal left behind a wife and two children.To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.