Man receives 40-year sentence for murder of Minneapolis man found in Dakota County culvert

A judge has sentenced a Minneapolis man to 40 years in prison after he was found guilty for his role in a 2021 murder case.

Through a Zoom hearing Thursday, Judge Hilary Caligiuri sentenced 41-year-old Ivan Contreras-Sanchez to the statutory maximum sentence. He must serve at least two-thirds of the 40 years in prison and the remainder under supervised release.

Earlier this summer, Contreras-Sanchez was convicted by a jury on two separate counts of second-degree murder for the March 29, 2021, killing of 39-year-old Manuel Mandujano.

RELATED: Minneapolis man charged with murder in fatal March beating after body found in culvert

Prosecutors say Contreras-Sanchez — who goes by the street name “Chilango” — and others had kidnapped Mandujano from a Minneapolis homeless encampment and took him to a home just a few blocks away at the corner of 36th Street East and Fifth Avenue South.

At the home, Contreras-Sanchez participated in beating Mandujano up, a criminal complaint states. A video obtained by investigators also shows him interrogating the victim for being “a snitch.”

The complaint also states Contreras-Sanchez drove a Chevrolet Malibu Maxx used to transport Mandujano’s body and dispose of it in a farming culvert in Dakota County. Police found the body on April 26, 2021.

Caligiuri heard victim impact statements from Mandujano’s mother and his ex-wife, who is also the mother of his child. A victim advocate from the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office read the statements out loud.

“My greatest sadness is for my son to lose his father in the worst way,” Mandujano’s ex-wife wrote. “How could these people murder him like that? He couldn’t even see his father one last time and say goodbye like every human being deserves. It’s sad there are people like him in this world.”

Prosecutor Krista White noted that several assailants, including Contreras-Sanchez, beat Mandujano with multiple objects over a prolonged period of time. An autopsy revealed the victim had suffered more than a dozen bone fractures, and he was found bound with a nail pounded into his heel.

“He was essentially tortured to death,” White said.

Contreras-Sanchez declined to give a statement during the proceedings.

Caligiuri did not mince words when determining whether Contreras-Sanchez’s case met the bar for particular cruelty to justify the upward sentencing departure requested by the prosecution.

“This is, in fact, the most depraved crime I have ever seen in my career,” Caligiuri said.

As previously reported, three others were charged in Mandujano’s death: Edgar Martinez-Montez and Arturo Morales-Ceras were each charged with two counts of second-degree murder, and Tomasa Martinez was charged with one count of kidnapping.

Morales-Ceras — who prosecutors say hammered the nail into Mandujano’s heel — pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree murder in June and is set to be sentenced on Oct. 6. Prosecutors offered to take time off Morales-Ceras’ sentence if he testified in the other defendants’ trials.

Meanwhile, Martinez-Montez’s trial is set to begin on Sept. 6, and Martinez is set to stand trial on Nov. 14.