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Gang member sentenced to 300 years to life in prison for innocent bystander's murder

A 25-year-old gang member from Canoga Park was sentenced last month to 300 years to life in state prison for the murder of an innocent bystander struck by a stray bullet during a shooting in 2015, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.

A jury on Sept. 26, 2017, convicted Ariel Baker Paniagua Jr., a Latino man, of second degree murder, three counts of attempted murder, two counts of shooting at an occupied motor vehicle and possession of a firearm by a felon, according to a news release from the district attorney. 

The jury also found gang and gun allegations to be true, prosecutors said.

On Oct. 6, 2015, Paniagua and Hubaldo Martinez, of Northridge, also a gang member, were driving behind a car they believed to be carrying three rival gang members in the 7200 block of Eton Avenue, according to authorities.

The two shot at the car, but one of the bullets went astray and struck Eduardo Rebolledo-Ramirez, 33, in the head. Rebolledo-Ramirez was sitting in his truck, preparing to drive home from work, authorities previously told The Times.

About a week later, police received a report of shots being fired at 11:41 a.m. at Owensmouth Boulevard and Cohasset Street and saw a man matching Paniagua’s description who shot at a vehicle.

Officers found Paniagua hiding in the doorway of a nearby apartment complex and arrested him in connection with both incidents.

Martinez pleaded no contest on Aug. 31, 2017, to one count of voluntary manslaughter and was later sentenced to 27 years in state prison.

Contact the Homicide Report. Follow @nicolesantacruz and @latimeshomicide on Twitter.

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