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Times coverage: Plea agreement for one defendant in killing of deputy

Photo: Sheriff Deputy Juan Abel EscalanteA man initially charged with the death of an off-duty Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy pleaded no contest this week to the lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter.

Arnold Pineda, a 29-year-old Latino, agreed Tuesday to cooperate with prosecutors and testify in the case in exchange for a sentence of 14 years in prison, said Los Angeles County Deputy Dist. Atty. John Colello.

Sheriff's Deputy Juan Abel Escalante, a 27-year-old Latino, was shot several times Aug. 2, 2008, outside his parents' Cypress Park home. He was preparing to leave for work as a guard at the Men's Central Jail in downtown.

Prosecutors said Pineda drove the vehicle that was used in the shooting but that investigators believe he was forced to drive at gunpoint. Pineda is expected to testify against two other defendants -- including the accused gunman, Carlos Javier Velasquez, a 24-year-old Latino and alleged member of the Avenues gang.

Read more: 'Man pleads no contest in fatal shooting of L.A. County sheriff's deputy in Cypress Park'

Photo: Sheriff's Deputy Juan Abel Escalante. Credit: Sheriff's Department

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