MARTINEZ -- A San Francisco man will be sentenced to more than 43 years in state prison for killing a romantic rival outside a Pittsburg restaurant in 2006, a failed jail break and other crimes, according to the Contra Costa District Attorney's Office.

Jury selection in the trial of 32-year-old Erik Yashiro Smith was nearing an end Tuesday when Smith pleaded guilty to eight felonies, including voluntary manslaughter with use of a gun for the Sept. 26, 2006, slaying of 29-year-old Pittsburg electrician Luis Perez.

Smith also pleaded guilty to attempted arson, arson of property, two counts of intimidating a witness with use of a gun, two counts of shooting into an unoccupied vehicle, and escaping from jail, deputy district attorney Dominique Yancey said.

Perez was gunned down in the parking lot of Nation's Giant Hamburgers on Railroad Avenue after a meal during the dinnertime rush. At a 2009 trial for Smith's former co-defendant Marcell Thatcher, a prosecutor told jurors that Smith killed Perez because he believed Perez was romantically involved with his wife, Perez's ex-girlfriend.

Two days before the killing, Smith set fire to an SUV belonging to Perez's sister, and shot up two vehicles in the sister's neighborhood.

Smith was being held in County Jail in Martinez on murder charges when, on Nov. 18, 2006, he jumped a fence in an attempt to escape. Authorities captured Smith before he could make it over a secondary fence, Yancey said.


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A Contra Costa County jury convicted Thatcher, 33, of first-degree murder for driving the getaway car for Smith. Thatcher was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison in June 2009.

Smith's trial was delayed for years because of complexities inherent to the case, Yancey said. He is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 18 to 43 years and four months in prison.

Contact Malaika Fraley at 925-234-1684. Follow her at Twitter.com/malaikafraley.