21-year-old Monterey County man sentenced to life in prison for two murders, jail escape

Santos Samuel Fonseca, 21, was sentenced to 152 years, 8 months to life for two counts of first-degree murder, firearm enhancements, and one count of escape Friday.

Fonseca, a Salinas resident, was arrested in June 2018 on murder charges and escaped from Monterey County Jail Nov. 3, 2019, through a hole in the bathroom ceiling. Authorities arrested Fonseca at the U.S./Mexico border three days later.

According to the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office, Fonseca is a member of Northside Boronda, a Salinas-based Norteño gang subset. He received instructions from an incarcerated gang member to commit murder and on June 2, 2018, Fonseca acted on those instructions and walked on Klamath Drive in Salinas in search of a victim.

Fonseca located Lorenzo Acosta, 37, who was visiting family members in Salinas. When Fonseca spotted him, Acosta was seated in the front seat of his car video-chatting with his wife after he returned from a trip to the grocery store. The DA’s Office says Fonseca approached Acosta, opened his car door, and repeatedly shot him in view of Acosta’s wife, who was still video-chatting with Acosta.

The DA’s Office said Fonseca received instructions to murder another person and on June 5, 2018, he accessed the Facebook profile of his girlfriend, Alexandra Romayor. Posing as Romayor,  Fonseca sent messages to Ernesto Cruz, age 22. Fonseca convinced Cruz to drive to El Dorado Park in Salinas to meet with Romayor. After Cruz arrived at El Dorado Park, Fonseca and Romayor walked to El Dorado Park. Before they arrived, Fonseca told Romayor to enter Cruz’s vehicle, keep Cruz occupied and exit the vehicle when Fonseca arrived. When Fonseca arrived at Cruz’s vehicle, he ordered Cruz out of his vehicle and shot him repeatedly. Civilian witnesses near the scene recognized Fonseca and Romayor and identified them to detectives.


The next day, Salinas police officers arrested Fonseca and Romayor in a traffic stop and a search of their vehicle revealed a firearm that forensic analysis revealed was the same firearm used in Acosta and Cruz’s murders.