BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — A gang member who beat a man to death with a hammer in Bakersfield has pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter and other crimes.

The Bakersfield California ( ) says Matthew Mejia entered the pleas Wednesday. The 31-year-old faces nearly 37 years in state prison.

Prosecutors say two years ago, Mejia and other gang members accused Justin Brewer of stealing two cellphones in a house frequented by drug users.

Brewer was tied to a chair but he managed to get free twice. The second time, he fought with Mejia and others.

Prosecutors say Mejia grabbed a hammer and beat him to death.

The body was dumped in an orchard and burned. Farmworkers discovered it.

Information from: The Bakersfield Californian,

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