Long Beach musician Toko Tasi, 45, was fatally shot in the city's Wrigley neighborhood Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019. Photo courtesy of Tasi's Facebook page.

A Long Beach man was sentenced Friday to 21 years in state prison for the killing of a beloved local musician more than four years ago.

Thomas Neri Arellaga Jr., 47, fatally shot Tasa Malaki, known as Toko Tasi, in the parking lot of the Hungry Horse Drive-In, located in the area of West Willow Street and Eucalyptus Avenue, on the night of Aug. 10, 2019, according to prosecutors.

Before handing down Arellaga’s sentence Friday afternoon, Judge Laura Laesecke had the opportunity to read letters written by victims affected by the crime.

“It’s certainly a devastating loss and people are still suffering four years later,” Laesecke said, adding that she could “feel the pain expressed in those letters.”

Born in Hawaii, Tasi grew up in Long Beach and collaborated with the bands Sublime and Slightly Stoopid. He was known for his melodic singing voice and at one point was signed to the Long Beach-based Skunk Records.

Mourners gather for Toko Tasi at a memorial. Photo credit Stephen Carr

Arellaga pleaded no contest in September to one count of voluntary manslaughter as part of a plea agreement with the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office.

“The plea deal was offered based on the facts,” Deputy District Attorney Kenneth Chiu said, adding that given Arellaga’s minimal criminal history, they felt this was the appropriate disposition.

On the night of the shooting, Tasi and Arellaga, who knew each other from childhood, were both attending a gathering amongst mutual friends at the PBS Pub and Company beer garden when they got into an argument outside, Chiu said.

To this day, nobody appears to know what sparked the argument, but a second one broke out again 30 minutes later between the two, Chiu said.

That argument eventually shifted over to the parking lot of the Hungry Horse Drive-In where Arellaga shot Tasi twice in the upper body, Chiu said. When emergency personnel arrived shortly after, they pronounced Tasi, 45, dead at the scene.

Arellaga, meanwhile, had fled the scene on foot and was harbored from law enforcement by his presumed wife, Lorna Clemena, Chiu said.

The two were arrested a few days later at a home in Hesperia. Clemena has since pleaded no contest to one count of accessory after the fact, which carried out a maximum sentence of one year. She was sentenced to time served under GPS ankle monitoring and no probation.