The Stinky Irvine Day Worker, His Meth, the Pickax & His Dead Boss

ErnestoAvalos.jpg
A bullet-grazed Avalos: The Meth made me do it
Irvine police officer John Sanders arrived at the active residential crime scene in January 2007 and took a defensive position behind a concrete wall. 

What Sanders saw is the stuff of a horror movie starring Jason Voorhees.

Professional landscaper Woo Sung Park was lying face-down in the back yard while his zombie-like, non-English-speaking day worker Ernesto Hernandez Avalos held a shovel "like a baseball bat" and moved into a position to strike Park.

Sanders yelled for Avalos to drop the shovel. Thankfully, he complied. A shovel can serve as a lethal weapon.

But then Avalos suddenly reached down, grabbed a pickax and--over the detective's shouts--slammed it into the back of Park's head, according to court testimony.

It took a team of officers "a pretty violent struggle" to eventually subdue Avalos, who, though shot in the face by officers, attempted to strike them with a shovel. 

Paramedics were not able to save Park, whose skull was fractured. 

Using a Spanish interpreter, Avalos admitted to police he was a heavy user of methamphetamine and had smoked the drug just before Park, a 45-year-old Rancho Santa Margarita husband and father, hired him that day.

So what had set him off?

He said Park annoyed him by complaining he smelled and seemed lazy.

His response? When Park was looking the other way, he snuck up behind him and slammed the shovel into his skull and continued to strike the man at least five more times before cops arrived.

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Jason Voorhees? No, Ernest Avalos
​Avalos wanted to know what was the big deal? He said he hadn't intended to kill Park. He was just trying to vent his frustration. He later added a self-defense excuse that he thought Park was trying to kill him.

After the work of prosecutor Steve McGreevy, an Orange County jury convicted Avalos of murder, and Judge M. Marc Kelly, who called the crime "heinous," shipped him off to a California prison.

Avalos appealed his conviction, arguing that his crazy acts underscored that he wasn't thinking normally, and therefore he couldn't have formed the necessary mental intent to kill. But a three-justice appellate panel rejected the claim.

"Just because Avalos used weapons that happened to be close at hand does not preclude a reasonable inference that he planned to kill Park when the opportunity presented itself," wrote Justice David G. Sills on behalf of Raymond J. Ikola and Kathleen O'Leary. "The mind can quickly formulate both the intent to kill and a workable plan to achieve that end." 

Avalos' motive? The justices concluded that Park's comments about his bad hygiene triggered the day worker's rage. As a result, he'll continue to serve his punishment: a 26-years-to-life prison sentence.

--R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly
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11 comments
Llog Ok
Llog Ok

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Bill T.
Bill T.

Typical lazy-think. One example of an off-his-rocker day laborer guy and you come to the conclusion that Mexicans are bad people (yah, I know you didn't explicitly state that, just reading between the lines). I'm certain I'm in more danger on the San Diego Freeway from people texting while driving than from some poor sod trying to earn some money so he can eat.

Call me Sir!
Call me Sir!

Cheap day labor working out well for you? And how many kids has Aval-anus blessed us with?

Jack123
Jack123

shuda smoked thiz foo!!

now we have to pay for this scumbag for 26 years!!!!!

MayhemInTheHood
MayhemInTheHood

Remember the recent unrest and prostesting regarding the Jamines shooting in MacArthur Park? Well, the protesters of that shooting should be happy to know that Irvine cops have been enacting their desired policy of "Dont Do Shit Until It's Far, Far Too Late" for over 4 years now! We're so much more progressive than L.A.!

Bill T.
Bill T.

dunno what happened, this was intended to be in response to Call me Sir.

Call me Sir
Call me Sir

Well Gustavo since you 're having difficulty with reading comprehension,let me help you. My comment about how cheap day labor is working out was to point out the hidden costs associated with this widespread practice of hiring complete strangers off the street. Normally rational people are attempting to save a few bucks by picking up jornaleros to do manual labor. As we can see in this case and many others, it is a supremely stupid idea. Both in terms of personal safety and the larger societal costs (police, legal, interpreters etc.)

And the comment about how many kids the malnacido has is a reference to the uncanny ability of fucked up illegals to pump out children muy rapido in order to achieve your exalted reconquista. Again, we the taxpaying legal citizens are stuck with the bill to educate, feed and likely eventually incarcerate Avalos' ninos preciosos.

Next time try parsing a little deeper. You may yet understand why there is such a tsunami of opposition to the invasion of Avaloses.

Rahmirror
Rahmirror

...and next time, check your spelling when you attempt to type bilingually ;) As hard as youre trying to make yourself sound smart, youre attempt at spanish makes you sound ridiculous! lol 'Call me SiCko' in the cabeza ;P ...ooh! Gustavo called you out. hehe

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