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Vancouver murder was cold-blooded and cowardly: judge

The killing of a 69-year-old East Vancouver man outside his home took place January 2019
Vancouver police were called to a and East Vancouver home Jan. 26, 2019 to find a man suffering from soon-to-be-fatal gunshot wounds.

The 2016 Vancouver slaying of 69-year-old Zenen Cepeda Silva was cold‑blooded and cowardly, a B.C. Supreme Court judge said in sentencing reasons released Nov. 30.

On Nov. 6, a jury found Alvaro Julio Roche-Garcia guilty of first-degree murder. A sentence of 25 years in jail before possibility of parole was passed Nov. 9 but the written decision was not immediately released.

Just before midnight on Jan. 26, 2019, police responded to a 911 call about a shooting on Fraser Street near East 51st Avenue.

Officers arrived at a home to find Cepeda Silva suffering from gunshot wounds. He was taken to hospital and pronounced dead.

Police said it appeared he was shot as he was walking toward the front of a home.

Justice James Williams said the evidence proved Roche-Garcia approached the front of Cepeda Silva's home under cover of darkness.

“He was armed with a handgun. He fired one shot, struck Mr. Cepeda Silva in the torso, likely in the back. Death resulted shortly after,” Williams said.

Roche-Garcia immediately left the scene.

“There is little to be said,” Williams said. “The act was cruel, it was quite cold-blooded, and frankly was cowardly. Whatever reasons Mr. Roche Garcia had to do what he did are neither known to this court nor apparent.”

Williams said Roche Garcia chose not to attend sentencing.

“In the ordinary course of events, I would have asked him if he had anything to say,” Williams said. “His absence, I suppose, indicates that there is nothing he wishes to say.”

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