SAN FERNANDO (CNS) — A Northern California man who stabbed his neighbor in the neck and then burned him alive in his car in Sylmar was sentenced  to 15 years to life in prison on Monday, April 11.

Carlo Giuliano Cresci, 24, of Richmond, pleaded no contest in July to second-degree murder in the May 24, 2014, killing of Jose Alberto Martinez, who was discovered dead in the burning car on a dead-end section of Harding Street near Foothill Boulevard.

Cresci stabbed Martinez, 26, once in the neck while the victim sat in the parked car, then poured gasoline on the vehicle and set it ablaze while Martinez was still alive, Deputy District Attorney Sean Carney said.

Detectives found a receipt in the car that led them to a restaurant where security video showed Martinez with Cresci and Cresci’s grandparents, who lived in Sylmar.

“The grandparents were the local connection that brought Martinez and Cresci all the way from Richmond,” Los Angeles police Lt. Paul Vernon said after the defendant’s arrest.

Police said Martinez and Cresci lived across the street from one another in the East Bay city.

A forensic search of Martinez’s cell phone, which also survived the fire, identified Cresci as one of the victim’s contacts.