Tracy man pleads guilty to Hacienda Inn murder
by Denise Ellen Rizzo
Aug 13, 2013 | 6842 views | 0 0 comments | 50 50 recommendations | email to a friend | print

STOCKTON — A Tracy man on Monday, Aug. 12, was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for the murder of a 62-year-old Tracy woman at the Hacienda Inn in July 2012.

Stephen Andrew Carreiro, 26, pleaded guilty in San Joaquin County Superior Court to first-degree murder for the fatal attack on Lalitaben Patel at her family’s hotel, 639 W. 11th St., on July 7, 2012.

Carreiro was also charged with resisting a police officer, rape, sodomy, burglary, murder, rape by a foreign object, elder abuse and violent crime on the vulnerable. All of the charges were dropped because Carreiro had plead guilty to the murder charge, according to Deputy District Attorney Thomas Testa.

Prior to the sentencing by Judge Bernard Garber, two of Patel’s nephews addressed the court.

Wiping away tears, Rocky Patel described the three men who went into the hotel room to stop the attack as “heroes” and that he considers them “family.”

“I will remember you everyday for the rest of my life,” said Rocky Patel, about his aunt. “Your dreams and ambitions will carry on.”

Nimesh Patel told the court at the time of his aunt’s death, she was in the process of bringing her only son to the United States from India after previously bringing her three daughters to America.

“One person acted and created a tremendous circle of effects,” Nimesh Patel said. “My aunt is gone and there is nothing I or the justice system can do to bring her back.”

During a brief statement, Carreiro told the victim’s family he was “terribly sorry for their loss, pain and anguish.”

Carreiro said his actions were because he suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. However, Testa told the court that the killing was not due to PTSD.

The defendant allegedly admitted to drinking heavily and knew he was prone to blackouts, according to Testa. During previous evaluations ordered by the court, doctors found Carreiro sane but detailed a history of drug problems.

Defense attorney Andrew Quinn said Carreiro’s military records showed he did have PTSD.

Testa said Carreiro’s blood alcohol level was .12 percent when he was arrested outside of the hotel room shortly after the attack. However, Testa said experts estimated it to be .22 or .23 percent at the time of the murder. The legal limit to drive in California is 0.08 percent.

According to Testa, Carreiro was seen buying candy at a local gas station that he tried to sell room-to-room at the hotel. Carreiro allegedly lied to hotel staff, saying he lost his key to Room 13. He said staff told him they didn’t have a Room 13 and told him to leave.

Testa said that during the killing, Carreiro was nude when he raped the victim and fractured her skull and ribs.

“He undressed himself and he was able to commit this horrific murder,” Testa said. “This isn’t a robbery attempt. This is rape of a woman working at the motel.”

Carreiro has been held at San

Joaquin County Jail since his arrest without bail, and he will be transferred to a California state prison.

• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at 830-4225

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