What Happened To William Sotelo After Netflix’s Why Did You Kill Me

What Happened To William Sotelo After Netflix's Why Did You Kill Me

What happened to William Sotelo following the events of Netflix’s Why Did You Kill Me? Here is an update on what occurred after the documentary.

What happened to William “Jokes” Sotelo after Netflix’s true crime documentary Why Did You Kill Me? The documentary film tells the true story of the 2006 murder of Crystal Theobald, a 24-year-old from Riverside, California. William Sotelo was one of multiple suspects involved in Theobald’s tragic death after the car she and her family were driving in was mistaken for that of an enemy of the local 5150 gang.

Why Did You Kill Me? documents how Theobald’s mother Belinda Lane and cousin Jaime McIntyre used MySpace to catfish Sotelo and other 5150 members in search of Crystal’s killer. Eventually, using the fake account, Lane was able to reveal personal facts about Sotelo that implicated him in the crime. Specifically, he drove his white Ford Expedition which carried the gang members responsible for the shooting, while Julio “Lil Huero” Heredia was identified as the shooter. Sotelo was, at one point, brought in for questioning, but was let go due to lack of evidence. Lane later confronted Sotelo through the social networking site about his actions. Sotelo then logged out of MySpace, went off-grid and was not heard or seen from again for over a decade.

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Ten years after the 2006 murder, Sotelo was tried and convicted on one count of voluntary manslaughter, for which he is currently serving a sentence of 22 years. Why Did You Kill Me? explains that following Lane’s MySpace confrontation, Sotelo fled to Mexico. While there, he worked as a chili farmer and started a family. Sotelo remained the only suspect still at large for the killing of Crystal Theobald after all other 5150 persons involved in the case had been tried and convicted. In 2016, Lane received a tip about Sotelo’s whereabouts on Facebook, which she forwarded to the police. The tip proved correct and allowed authorities to locate Sotelo, who was living with a wife and three children.

William Sotelo: Why Was He Charged?

Why Did You Kill Me Crystal and Belinda

Sotelo’s case was tried in 2020, where he was initially facing first-degree murder charges. At the trial, Lane spoke directly to Sotelo where she allegedly called him “a coward” and “a punk” and she hoped other gang members in prison would “snuff his life out.” Lane then moved to verbally address Sotelo’s family, shaming them for helping him escape to Mexico before the judge ordered her to stop and to only address Sotelo. Afterward, when questioned about the sentencing, Belinda Lane responded she was still processing and that “He wasn’t even sorry.”

Following the events depicted in Why Did You Kill Me? Sotelo took a plea deal, where he pled guilty to one count of voluntary manslaughter. His 22-year sentence includes the four years he had been held up to and during his trial, meaning Sotelo will face eighteen additional years in prison before being released. He is currently incarcerated at Centinela State Prison in Imperial County, California.

Other Netflix True Crime Documentaries Where The Internet Solves The Crime

The hunt for William Sotelo chronicled in Why Did You Kill Me? isn’t the only instance of a Netflix true crime series where the internet is a key tool for resourceful investigating. The streaming giant’s 2019 documentary Don’t F**k With Cats: Hunting An Internet Killer is a similarly disturbing, gripping project that tells the story of a group of amateur yet dedicated internet sleuths who worked to track down the man responsible for the heinous killing of two cats in a 2010 internet video. The group identified the perpetrator as Luka Magnotta, a Canadian man who was also convicted for the heinous, grisly murder of a university student named Jun Lin.

Related: Everything Netflix’s Elisa Lam Documentary Leaves Out About The Cecil Hotel

Netflix took the true crime world by storm again in 2021 with the docu-series Crime Scene: The Vanishing At The Cecil Hotel. The widely-buzzed-about, four-part project chronicles the history of the Cecil Hotel (which has been renamed) in Los Angeles, as well as the seemingly mysterious death of Canadian tourist Elisa Lam, whose body was found in a cistern on the hotel’s roof. Like Netflix’s Why Did You Kill Me? and Don’t F**k With Cats (though it’s more similar to the latter Netflix true crime series), The Vanishing At The Cecil Hotel is yet another example of the power, tenacious dedication, and thoughtful work of internet sleuths who try to solve crimes from behind their computer screens.

Next: The Ripper: Does Netflix’s True Crime Series Glorify Serial Killers?

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Austin Giroux
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Austin Giroux is a writer, filmmaker, and voice actor originally from Connecticut and based in Tampa, Florida. His favorite topics include the MCU and movies that are “so bad they’re good.”

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