It was a vicious crime, in the wealthy ocean-front community of La Jolla. After the guilty pleas, the judge ordered four of the defendants to behave themselves, or suffer the consequences.
The victim was Emery Kauanui, a 24-year-old professional surfer, who knew his attackers.
Seth Cravens threw the fatal punch in that drunken street fight, which happened more than two years ago. Cravens was convicted of second-degree murder, and is serving 20 years to life.
The four other "Bird Rock Bandits" pleaded guilty, and got much lighter sentences in county jail. Three of those men are now back in jail for probation violations.
Deputy U.S. Marshal Omar Castillo said Orlando Osuna Wright, Matthew Yanke and Eric House were arrested this week after violating the judge's order that they not associate with each other, and not contact the victim's family.
"So when somebody is not following the terms of probation, our concern is whether or not they're a risk to the community," said chief county probation officer Mack Jenkins. "Our job is to protect the community, so that's why it's very serious."
The men violated the order to contact each other and when they allegedly ran into the victim's former girlfriend at a downtown bar, they did not turn around and leave. Osuna Wright and Yanke also tested positive for drugs.
When the three men will appear in court early next week, we'll find out if Judge John Einhorn meant what he said when he offered them a second chance if they towed the line.
"These clients have put him in a precarious position because he said in essence, I'm giving you a break," said Kerry Steigerwalt who represents Yanke.
Steigerwalt said Yanke has been doing well with his probation.
"I can understand why people from the outside would say, wait, the judge gave them a break, now they've breached that trust, send them to prison," said Steigerwalt. " But the truth of the matter is, you look at everything in context."
"Prison is a horrible hell, you don't send somebody unless really, it's deserving," he said. "The question is, is the judge going to believe it's deserving at this point in time, I don't know."