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Two charged in wrongful death of Lodi farmworker agree to plea deal

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Posted: Thursday, January 20, 2011 11:49 am

The two defendants charged in the wrongful death of a Lodi farmworker who died of heat exposure in 2008 agreed to a tentative plea deal Thursday in which both will avoid jail time.

Maria De Los Angeles Colunga, who owned the labor contractor that 17-year-old victim Maria Isabel Jimenez Vasquez worked for, will plead guilty to a misdemeanor for failing to provide shade to workers in the heat, according to county Deputy District Attorney Lester Fleming. Elias Armenta, Colunga's brother who served as her safety director at Merced Farm Labor, will plead guilty to a felony for a violation of safety standards that led to the death of an employee, Fleming said.

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