Man pleads guilty in Los Altos backyard murder

Roberto Rivera, 48, of Union City, was shot to death in Los Altos on May 4, 2020.

Daily Post Staff Writer

The man accused of shooting a mason in a Los Altos backyard in a possible dispute over a woman pleaded guilty today (Aug. 4) in Santa Clara County Superior Court.

Edgar Lainez-Portillo, 25, of Redwood City, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and admitted that he used a firearm in the commission of the crime. He will be sentenced to 50 years to life, according to Deputy District Attorney Bryan Slater.

Lainez-Portillo will be eligible for parole after serving 25 years.

Victim Roberto Rivera, 48, of Union City, was shot the morning of May 4 while working in the backyard of a house on the 1000 block of Highlands Circle. Police found him slumped over on his knees with gunshot wounds to his back and head.

Police said the murder may have been part of a love triangle because Rivera and Lainez-Portillo had dated the same woman. The two men are 23 years apart in age. The woman’s age wasn’t available.

Security footage from the home showed a suspect with a black, full-face helmet and gloves pull up on a blue Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R motorcycle with gold trim, according to a statement of facts from Sgt. Cameron Shearer.

The suspect parked the motorcycle on the street curb and walked through the side yard to get to the backyard. He appeared to be pulling a handgun out of his jacket pocket, Shearer said.

Four shots can be heard in the security video, according to Shearer. The suspect then ran to the front and fled on the bike.

Police searched Rivera’s apartment in Union City. They found a police report from 2017 describing a domestic violence incident between Rivera and an ex-girlfriend.

When police interviewed the ex-girlfriend, she told them her most current boyfriend was Lainez-Portillo but that she dumped him on May 1, according to Shearer.

A neighbor of the ex-girlfriend said Lainez-Portillo rode a motorcycle matching the one in the video, Shearer said.

Shearer wrote that Lainez-Portillo matched the suspect in the video.

Police arrested Lainez-Portillo and searched his Redwood City home with a warrant in May. They found a motorcycle matching the one from the crime scene under a cover in Lainez-Portillo’s front yard, Shearer wrote. They also seized a helmet, jacket and boots.

Shearer said another woman told police she went to a party with Lainez-Portillo after the shooting and he told her he had “done something bad.” When she asked him what, he allegedly told her he had killed someone.

Rivera’s death, in a neighborhood with nice houses and well-tended gardens, came on the first day that landscapers were allowed to return to work under a revised county health order.

1 Comment

Comments are closed.