A convicted felon who stabbed a 37-year-old Desert Hot Springs man not long after getting out of prison for another deadly attack pleaded guilty today to second-degree murder and was immediately sentenced to 17 years to life in state prison.
Joseph Arrez, 39, admitted the murder count, as well as sentence-enhancing allegations of using a deadly weapon in the commission of a felony and committing a violent crime while on parole, under a plea agreement with the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office, just as trial proceedings were set to begin at the Larson Justice Center in Indio.
Superior Court Judge Dean Benjamini certified the terms of the plea deal and imposed the sentence stipulated by the prosecution and defense.
According to prosecutors, Arrez attacked Edwin Carreto on the night of Oct. 21, 2017, in the 66-500 block of Fourth Street in Desert Hot Springs.
Police did not disclose a specific motive, saying only that there was a verbal altercation that turned physical between the two men, who knew each other. Carreto died at the scene. Detectives quickly developed leads pointing to Arrez as the perpetrator and located him the following day on Palm Drive, where he was taken into custody without a struggle.
He had only recently completed a 3 1/2 -year prison sentence for the 2011 slaying of 59-year-old Gregory Johnson, who was carjacked in his SUV and shot to death in Ontario by Arrez’s cohort, documented gang member Jon Flores.
Arrez pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter, while Flores was tried and convicted of murder and other counts that resulted in a 143-year prison sentence in 2016, according to court records.