A Twentynine Palms man who was convicted of second degree murder in December for killing a man two years ago was sentenced to prison Friday morning. Carlos Herrera, 42, was sentenced to a total of 16 years to life for stabbing and killing Luis Arroyo, 49, when he found Arroyo in bed with his estranged wife on September 14, 2016.

Arroyo’s youngest brother, Andres Arroyo, gave a victim’s impact sentence in which he said Luis Arroyo, who was a loving, caring man, would never get to see his daughter get married or see his grandchildren. Arroyo also said that his brother’s murder has taken happiness from him and his family; he and his family have lost their faith in the goodness of people. He added that Herrera deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison.

Herrera’s defense attorney, Jack Thomas, reminded Cortez that the jury found that Herrera did not murder with premeditation, that killing Arroyo was an act of reaction, reaction to seeing his wife in bed with a strange man. He added that the cultural taboo against infidelity sometimes caused good people to do terrible things, and that the circumstances really called for some mitigation.

Herrera addressed the court through a Spanish interpreter, saying he thought about all the suffering he had caused, not only with his victim’s family, but with his own family as well. He said he was not crazy and couldn’t talk about the event. He said he never expected something like the murder to happen to him, He added he regretted not being able to see his family or children any more. He wanted Judge Rodney Cortez to understand that he was a human being and never thought this would happen to him.

Prosecuting attorney Michelle Bergey said that the jury rejected Herrera’s defense of acting in the heat of passion. Evidence seized from Herrera’s internet searches found that he had been researching and planning how to murder Arroyo. She requested a sentence of 15 years to life with a one-year enhancement for using a dangerous weapon.

Cortez began his remarks by noting that both he and the jury rejected the defense that Herrera thought the noises he heard in the house were from a burglary. He noted that Herrera seemed more concerned with finding himself in this situation than with the fact that a man is dead and how his murder affects the victim’s family. He said it was obvious from the photos and evidence that Herrera had planned the killing and that it was a vicious and cruel killing due to the fact that blood spatters were found in every nook and cranny of the bedroom. And, he added, Herrera’s estranged wife was lucky to be alive because if she hadn’t escaped from the bedroom, Cortez was certain she would have been killed too. And then Cortez sentenced Carlos Herrera to 15 years to life for the second degree murder, with a one year enhancement for using a deadly weapon, for a total of 16 years to life in state prison.


Lifetree Café is a place where people gather for conversation about life and faith in a casual, comfortable setting. This week’s discussion will be about pursuing a satisfying life, even amid sickness. Reporter Tanisha Cureton has the details…
Lifetree Morongo Basin Host Brad White-Findeisen says, “Too often, we’re afraid of dying when we haven’t actually lived.” The program, titled “How to Live Before You Die: Embracing Life to the Fullest,” will be explored at Lifetree Café on Sunday, April 15 at 4 p.m. The program features a filmed interview with a young girl who escaped from communist Yugoslavia and emigrated to the U.S. to work with patients facing an uncertain future to find hope and positivity. This free 60-minute event is located behind Little Church of the Desert at Veterans Way and Ocotillo Avenue in Twentynine Palms. For more information call 760-217-2597.


A Twentynine Palms man was arrested Thursday, accused of stabbing a man. According to a Sheriff’s report, deputies were called to the 6700 block of Mesquite Drive in Twentynine Palms at 2:26 a.m. for a stabbing. The victim had three stab wounds on his left arm and one stab wound on the upper part of his back. Witnesses told deputies that three men jumped the victim in his driveway. Through investigation, deputies went to another residence where they located the suspect vehicle with blood drops leading from it to the house. They arrested Velore Faatolia, 41, for investigation of assault with a deadly weapon and for conspiracy to commit a crime. Faatolia was booked into the West Valley Detention Center with his bail set at $50,000.


The Morongo Basin Democratic Club will hold a tax rally Sunday, April 15, at the corner of Old Woman Springs Road and Highway 62. The rally will be held from noon to 2 p.m.


The Baker’s Dozen improv troupe takes to the Theatre 29 stage for a spring themed comedy show. Rebecca Havely has your invitation…

To improvise means to make something up on the spot or figure it out as you go. So, with the improve comedy of “The Baker’s Dozen” that means anything can happen and usually does. Their spring themed show named, “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Bread” is Saturday, April 14 at 7 p.m. at Theatre 29. Director Chris Fleischman, with assistant directors Katie Fleischman and Graham Cooley, will be joined on by Cindy Daigneault, Lisa Goldberg, Charles Harvey, Rebecca Havely, Cody Joseph, Kevin Myers, Marty Neider, Kurt Schauppner, Lyle Williams and Joe Rego. Future performances, all PG 13, are set for May 26, June 16, July 14, August 11, September 15, November 10, and December 29 in 2018.
TAG: “The Baker’s Dozen” improv ticket prices are greatly reduced with General Admission at $10.00, Military, and Seniors $7.00 and $5.00 for students with ID. Theatre 29 Season Ticket holders may attend one Improv show at no charge. Visit or call 760-361-4151.


The Yucca Valley Recreation Department is offering line dancing classes on Monday nights. Learn to dance to a wide mix of music, including country, pop, and Big Band. You never need a partner in line dancing, but feel free to bring along friends. There is a $3 drop-in fee; no registration is required. The classes are held in the Cholla room of the Yucca Valley Community Center. For more information, call 760-369-7211 Mondays through Thursdays from noon to 5.


The Joshua Tree Art Gallery holds an opening reception today during the Second Saturday Art Crawl in Joshua Tree. Here’s managing editor Tami Roleff with the details…

The Joshua Tree Art Gallery will hold an opening reception Saturday, April 14, for its new exhibit, “Acces Interdit,” a solo show by Barbara Drucker. Drucker is a painting professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her studio practice includes painting, sculptural installation, documentary video, photography and artists’ books. The reception will be held 6 to 8 p.m. during the Second Saturday Art Crawl at JTAG in downtown Joshua Tree. The exhibit will be on display through May 6. Gallery hours are 10 to 3 Saturdays, and noon to 3 on Sundays, and by appointment.


Deane Locke, a watercolor painter, is the artist of the month at Desert Hills Presbyterian Church in Yucca Valley. Her show, “March Showers Bring April Flowers,” hangs all this month in Room 1 just off the fellowship hall. The show can be viewed Sunday mornings between 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. and by appointment. Desert Hills Presbyterian Church is located at 56750 Mountain View Trail.


Sky’s the Limit Observatory and Nature Center invites stargazers to enjoy the desert night sky tonight. A variety of telescopes will be available for guests to view the incredible cosmic sights. Here’s reporter Tanisha Cureton with your invitation…
The spring sky is sparkling bright with some of the best examples of galaxies such as the Black-eye and Whirlpool galaxies. Stargazers can view these galaxies along with the Big Dipper, Leo and the bright orange star Arcturus this Saturday, April 14. This free public event begins at 8 p.m. till 11 p.m. at Sky’s the Limit Observatory and Nature Center, located at 9697 Utah Trail in Twentynine Palms. The seasonal sky is very unpredictable, to learn the status of an event or more information call 760-365-7897.


A new exhibition is on display at Gallery 62 in downtown Joshua Tree. The group show, entitled “Face Off,” features paintings, assemblage, and ceramics by Suzanne Ross and Marjorie Franklin, as well as art by other local artists. An opening reception will be held tonight during the second Saturday art crawl from 6 to 8 p.m. The show is on display through April 29. Gallery hours are noon to 3 Fridays and Sundays, and 9 to 3 Saturdays. Gallery 62 is located at 60167 29 Palms Highway.


Thought Theatre closes its season with a final performance of “Stand for Freedom,” a collaborative cabaret, at the Wonder Valley Community Center. Rebecca Havely has your invitation …
“Stand for Freedom” follows the life of Cabaret performer Thelma Edwards, played by one of the show’s creators, Miri Hunter. Hunter and Lisa Mednick Powell co-wrote the script. An original musical score was co-written by the Hi-Desert bands “Hunter and the Wick’d” and “Arroyo Rogers.” The show was written to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Martin Luther King, Jr. assassination. The final performance of the cabaret will be held at the Wonder Valley Community Center at 80526 Amboy Road on Sunday, April 15 at 4 p.m. Tickets will be available at the door for a $10. donation.
For more information email Miri Hunter at or visit