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Jury convicts Greenfield man guilty of first degree murder for killing his boss

PIX Now -- Wednesday morning news headlines from the KPIX newsroom
PIX Now -- Wednesday morning news headlines from the KPIX newsroom 10:29
Imeldo Ramirez Merino King City Police

GREENFIELD (CBS SF) - A Monterey County jury found a 28-year-old Greenfield man guilty of first degree murder Friday for his role in killing his boss back in July of 2019.

The jury found Imeldo Ramirez Merino guilty of killing ranch supervisor Benito Godinez Canales on the morning of July 31, 2019. According to Monterey County District Attorney Jeannine M. Pacion, Canales suspended Merino, a daytime irrigator at a ranch, the day before. Canales wrote up Merino several times for attendance issues.

The next morning, Merino and his little brother arrived at the King City ranch and waited for Canales to come to work. After Canales arrived, Merino walked up to his truck while Canales was checking a water pump. Merino then shot Canales eight times from the passenger side of the truck, killing him.

"Immediately after the murder, Merino drove to a convenience store in Greenfield and treated himself and his brother to a celebratory coffee," according to the Pacion's office. "Video surveillance captured them both laughing and smiling while they chose their coffees and snacks."

Merino was arrested the same day.

Merino's conviction was enhanced because he killed Canales by lying in wait and with a firearm.

The jury also found Merino guilty of two counts of shooting at an inhabited dwelling two months before the murder. According to Pacion, on the night of May 23, 2019, Merino fired several .45 caliber rounds in the direction of two houses where people lived who reportedly "had 'beef' with Merino's friend or owed the friend money. Merino fired from the passenger seat of his friend's car during the drive-by shootings." (Pacion added that her office prosecuted the friend, Ubaldo Reyes Martinez, separately. He's currently serving time in prison.)

Judge Rafael Vazquez presided over the murder trial and is expected to sentence Merino on Nov. 29. According to Pacion, based on the convictions and enhancements, Merino faces a state prison sentence of life without the possibility of parole.

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