Murder convict given at least 30 years behind bars

2013-03-14T00:00:00Z 2013-03-14T07:55:18Z Murder convict given at least 30 years behind barsVeronica M. Cruz Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
March 14, 2013 12:00 am  • 

A Tucson man convicted of first-degree murder and several other charges related to a 2011 home invasion was sentenced Wednesday in Pima County Superior Court to life in prison.

Manuel Jesus Pesqueira, 28, becomes eligible for release after 25 years for the murder charge, but because of the sentences for the other charges he will not be eligible for release until he's served at least 30 years.

Pesqueira was accused of being one of two men who broke into an apartment on West Irvington Road on June 29, 2011, looking for drugs and money.

One of the occupants in the apartment, Reynaldo Cienfuegos, said Pesqueira pointed a gun at his head, took a wallet, a jar of change and a cellphone, according to court documents released Wednesday. Cienfuegos said Pesqueira came back into the room with a machete and used it to hit the walls and mattress while making demands for money and drugs.

When Pesqueira left, a second man came into the room and shot 25-year-old Leonardo Cota-Leyva in the head. Cota-Leyva died a few days later.

Pesqueira could have faced natural life in prison, but defense attorney Natasha Wrae asked Judge Richard Fields to give Pesqueira the possibility of release after 25 years, because he was not the shooter and it was not Pesqueira's intent to harm the victim.

Pesqueira was sentenced to 15 years each for a kidnapping charge and an aggravated assault with a deadly-weapons charge.

Those sentences must run consecutively.

He also was sentenced to 15 years on another armed-robbery charge, 10 years for aggravated robbery, 15 years for kidnapping, and 10 years for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, all which will run concurrent with the 30-year sentence.

On StarNet: If you want to know more about crime in Tucson, check out the StarNet Police Beat blog at

Contact reporter Veronica Cruz at or at 573-4224.

Copyright 2015 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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