Adrian Madrigal faces more than three decades in state prison following his sentencing for a 2013 home break-in that left a 62-year-old Napa man dead.
Monday morning in Napa County Superior Court, Judge Mark Boessenecker sentenced Madrigal to 33 years and four months for voluntary manslaughter, robbery and burglary in the stabbing death of Don Buffington. Madrigal, 30, had pleaded guilty to the charges Feb. 7 in a deal that included the dismissal of a first-degree murder allegation.
Madrigal also was ordered to pay $6,626 in restitution to the family of Buffington, a Vietnam War veteran and retired union laborer.
Dressed in a dark blue suit, a calm and composed Madrigal said little during the 20-minute hearing, other than to answer “yes” when Boessenecker asked him whether he understood he would not receive any credit for his time already served behind bars.
After hearing the sentence while standing in a glass-walled chamber on the right side of the courtroom, Madrigal stuck his right hand through a vertical slot to shake hands with his two attorneys.
Later Monday, Assistant District Attorney Paul Gero said the plea agreement that dropped the murder charge was based on Madrigal’s history of mental illness and the desire to secure a lengthy prison term. Court records indicate Madrigal was treated at Napa State and Atascadero State hospitals before being declared competent to stand trial.
“Our office and the victim’s family wanted to ensure he did not escape justice and possibly be committed to a state hospital to be released in the near future,” Gero said. “The finality of him serving a lengthy sentence in state prison was our preference.”
Police said Madrigal’s arrest stemmed from an attempted burglary at Buffington’s bungalow in the 1100 block of Hayes Street.
Sometime before 4 a.m., on June 21, 2013, Madrigal, then 24, entered through an unlocked back window of the stucco-sided house before getting into an altercation with Buffington, authorities said at the time. Buffington suffered several stab wounds and died of his injuries.
Afterward, Madrigal took jewelry from the home and fled in the victim’s Chevrolet TrailBlazer, according to police. The next day, California Highway Patrol officers who stopped the SUV for a traffic violation near Lake Berryessa discovered it did not belong to Madrigal, and Napa Police officers were sent to Buffington’s house where his body was found.
Madrigal was arrested and charged with the first-degree murder of Buffington, as well as robbery, burglary and vehicle theft. He pleaded not guilty in August 2013.
The case followed a period filled with mental illness and run-ins with police, according to defense counsel and law enforcement.
At the time of the slaying, Madrigal was on probation for a November 2011 incident in which he scaled the 140-foot-tall Coombs Street water tower at the former Sawyer Tanning Mill, stayed six hours and dropped various items from the tower, according to police. He was convicted the following year and served jail time for assault with a deadly weapon in connection with that incident.
Madrigal was arrested again in April 2013 on suspicion of stealing clothes from the Kohl’s store in downtown Napa, according to court documents. He was released from the Napa County jail and ordered to receive a mental health assessment, going free on June 5 – less than 2 ½ weeks before Buffington was killed.