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Man sentenced to 16 years to life in killing of friend at construction site

A 21-year-old Latino who bludgeoned a friend to death at an East Hollywood construction site was sentenced Monday to 16 years to life in state prison, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.

A jury in April found Christian Valdez guilty of second-degree murder.

Prosecutors said that Valdez worked with Juan Sanchez, 19, at a construction site in the 4200 block of West Burns Avenue on the border of East Hollywood and Silver Lake. In May 2014, Valdez showed up to work drunk and was sent home. He borrowed Sanchez’s car and crashed it.

Sanchez hoped that Valdez, a longtime friend, would pay for the damage to the car.

On May 22, Valdez came back to work and bludgeoned Sanchez to death with a sledgehammer and a framing hammer, prosecutors said. Valdez fled but was arrested on suspicion of murder that day.

-- Nicole Santa Cruz

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