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Suspect’s mother pleads guilty to obstruction

The mother of the suspected getaway driver in a fatal June shooting has changed her plea for her role in helping her son evade law enforcement.

At the Madera County Superior Court, Isabella Walter, the mother of suspect Adam Diaz, pleaded guilty on Monday to resisting, obstructing, or delaying an officer, and was sentenced by Madera County Judge Charles Wieland to two years’ informal probation with time served for the misdemeanor.

“The facts are, when the police asked her about (Diaz) being in a certain car, at some point, she said he wasn’t in that car,” said Walter’s attorney Jennifer Dana. “And then the next day, or later that day, she told them that he was, in fact, in that car. There wasn’t a tremendous delay in their work.” Diaz, and his suspected accomplice, Andrew Chavez, were arrested for the fatal shooting of Michael Sanchez, 35, of Los Banos.

According to Madera Police Lt. Brian Esteves, the shooting, which occurred at 11th Street and Gateway Drive on June 26, was gang-related, and was the result of a case of mistaken identity.

“Apparently, he was wearing the wrong colors, of the rival gang,” Esteves said.

Despite the colors he was wearing, however, Sanchez was a member of the same gang as Diaz and Chavez.

Sanchez, who was in town to visit family, was believed to be walking home from Mr. D’s Bar and Grill at 427 S. Gateway Drive. It was during the walk home that Chavez reportedly opened fire, shooting multiple rounds, of which only one struck Sanchez killing him. Sanchez’s body was found several hours later in the parking lot where he had died.

Chavez was arrested by officers of the Special Investigations Unit on June 29 in the Bolero Parking Lot on Yosemite Avenue. Diaz was apprehended on Aug. 5 at a traffic stop in the 1500 block of Cleveland Avenue, 41 days after the shooting took place. Diaz reportedly acted as the getaway driver for Chavez.

“He was aware of what was going to happen. He was not the trigger man, but was just as implicit in the killing,” Madera Police Sgt. Josiah Arnold said. “Hundreds, if not thousands of hours went into this investigation.”

Chavez, who was also in the courtroom with Walter, was arraigned on information, and has been ordered by Wieland to return on Thursday for a trial setting.

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