Newhall man pleads to killing childhood friend



A 22-year-old man pleaded no contest Monday to killing Max Bernal, a friend he knew since childhood, a Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokesman announced.

David Aldana, now 22, pleaded no contest to one count of voluntary manslaughter and admitted a special allegation of personally using a handgun, DA spokesman Greg Risling said in a news release issued Monday afternoon.

Aldana was scheduled Monday to be sentenced on Aug. 18 when he faces 10 years in prison, Risling said.

Deputy District Attorney Matthew Vodnoy prosecuted the case.

Aldana shot and killed Maximiliano Bernal, 22, in February 2016. The two had been friends since they were children.

Just over a year ago, Aldana led homicide detectives to the area of mile marker 7.89 on Sand Canyon Road where they found “the victim’s body and discovered he had been shot at least one time in the upper torso,” Lt. Eddie Hernandez of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau told The Signal at that time.

Sometime between Feb. 23 and Feb. 24, Bernal was shot and killed, and his body dumped in a ravine. It was discovered near a turnout.

The felony complaint filed against Aldana included the allegation that the murder was committed with a handgun.

Aldana turned himself in at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection office in San Ysidro on Feb. 24, 2016, prosecutors said at the time.

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