Saturday, 25 May 2024

Teen gets life sentence for 2007 stabbing


LAKEPORT – A 19-year-old Lakeport resident has been sentenced to life in prison for allegedly stabbing and critically injuring a young Clearlake Oaks man during a March 2007 gang assault.

Visiting Judge Galen Hathaway sentenced Ricardo Tapia Muniz to life in prison on Friday on charges of aggravated mayhem and a gang enhancement, according to Chief Deputy District Attorney Richard Hinchcliff.


Muniz pleaded guilty to the charges as part of an agreement with the District Attorney's Office. In return, an additional charge of attempted murder and a special enhancement of causing great bodily injury were dismissed.

Muniz was one of five suspects accused of attacking Alex Larranaga, then 19, outside of TNT's Restaurant near Library Park in Lakeport on March 16, 2007, said Hinchcliff.

Deputy District Attorney Gary Luck handled the prosecution of this case. Muniz was represented by a private attorney, Richard Petersen from Ukiah.

Petersen could not be reached for comment on the case Friday.

The prosecution had alleged that Muniz and the other defendants had attacked Larranaga because they believed his brother was a rival gang member and had “flashed” some gang signs at them.

Hinchcliff said witnesses at the scene had described Muniz as the individual who possessed a knife which he allegedly used to stab Larranaga. The other defendants in the case had hit and kicked Larranaga.

The attack left Larranaga with numerous stab wounds, which have left him partially paralyzed on his left side, where he has lost the use of his leg and arm, Hinchcliff reported.

Lakeport Police arrested the five suspects within a few hours of the stabbing, as Lake County News has reported.

Muniz had pleaded guilty to the aggravated mayhem charge and also admitted the gang enhancement, said Hinchcliff, according to Hinchcliff.

In a written statement, Luck said he is pleased with the case's outcome and sentence, noting that Muniz's sentencing brings to a conclusion the case against all five of the individuals arrested and prosecuted for this crime.

Two of the five assailants were juveniles at the time of the commission of the crime, but were treated as adults, Hinchcliff reported.

One 14-year-old male juvenile admitted his involvement in the crime and was sentenced through the juvenile court.

Other defendants in the attack included Elias Hernandez, Juan Luis Yepez and Mathew Allen Domeier, all of whom were sentenced to prison last August. Hernandez, then 20, was sentenced to seven years in prison, while Yepez and Domeier – both 17 when they were sentenced – received six- and seven-year prison sentences, respectively, as Lake County News has reported.

Lakeport Police Det. Norm Taylor, a gang expert who helped lead the investigation into Larranaga's assault, told Lake County News in an August 2007 interview that the five defendants were part of South Side Willow Point, a local Surenos gang, and were known to spend much of their time in and around the Willopoint Resort and Library Park.

Taylor said at the time that the group accounted for “a substantial portion of the active gang members in the community.”

Luck praised the excellent response and investigation of the members of the Lakeport Police Department, especially Taylor, who he said was “instrumental in completing the investigation and putting together an excellent case for prosecution.”

The sentence requires that Muniz serve a minimum of 15 years before he is eligible for parole, Hinchcliff said.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Upcoming Calendar

05.25.2024 7:00 am - 11:00 am
Kiwanis Club pancake breakfast 
05.25.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
05.26.2024 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
Lower Lake Daze
Memorial Day
05.28.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
06.01.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
06.04.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
06.08.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
06.11.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park

Mini Calendar



Award winning journalism on the shores of Clear Lake. 



Enter your email here to make sure you get the daily headlines.

You'll receive one daily headline email and breaking news alerts.
No spam.