LA PUENTE, Calif. (KTLA) – A man who fatally stabbed his supervisor in the back at a Southern California pizza restaurant nearly two years ago was sentenced this week to 26 years to life in state prison.
Rafael Sanchez of Baldwin Park, who was 32 at the time of the attack, snuck up behind his supervisor, 21-year-old Daniel Anthony Sanchez, and stabbed him in the neck and back, officials said.
The stabbing occurred just after the defendant was told "to do his work," the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced Thursday.
The attack occurred on March 10, 2018, at a Domino's Pizza on the 1000 block of Hacienda Boulevard in La Puente, sheriff’s officials said.
The victim, who was not related to the defendant, was a student at Mount San Antonio College and was hoping to be a high school English teacher, according to statements made at his sentencing hearing Wednesday.
His mother sobbed throughout her statement.
“I knew I would lose Daniel,” she said in court. "He was just too perfect."
His mother and others who spoke at the sentencing wore matching T-shirts that read "Justice for Daniel, our hero."
After the sentencing, the victim's family announced that they had just filed a lawsuit against Domino’s Pizza and the owner of the franchise, M. Lehmann Enterprises.
The suit alleges that Rafael Sanchez had problems while working at another Domino’s location and, as a result, was transferred to the La Puente location where the attack occurred, according to Michael Carrillo, the family’s attorney.
“This could have all been avoided had Domino’s Pizza, the supervisors, the managers, done their job and gotten rid of this murderer, this violent man,” Carrillo said.
The complaint says that both the general manager and the CEO of the franchise were aware that the defendant had twice before been convicted for driving under the influence and for being drunk in public.
The complaint also states that Rafael Sanchez had sexually harassed a coworker — who filed an incident report — but he was never reprimanded or disciplined.
A jury on Nov. 19 found Rafael Sanchez guilty of one count of first-degree murder and found true an allegation that he used a knife to kill his supervisor.