A gang member was sentenced today to 21 years in state prison for the shooting deaths of two teenage boys near a Highland Park recreation area just over five years ago.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Craig Richman imposed the term on Felix Gomez Jr., 23, who pleaded no contest Tuesday to two counts of voluntary manslaughter.
Gomez shot and killed Carlos Hernandez, 15, and Alejandro Garcia, 16, after a fight broke out between the two teens and a group of people on March 13, 2009, according to Deputy District Attorney Amy Ashvanian.
Gomez was a 17-year-old documented gang member at the time of the shooting, authorities said.
Garcia's mother, Efehenia, said through a Spanish interpreter that a "big part" of her life died when her son was killed.
"Nothing is the same for me any more. I lost everything. My family has not been the same," she said. "Every year, nothing is the same without him."
Garcia's sister, Adilene, said, "He didn't deserve any of this ... This just isn't fair, especially for my brother."
Garcia's brother, Victor, called the sentence a "slap on the hand," telling Gomez that he "took two lives."
In a letter read by the prosecutor, Hernandez's sister, Angela, said Gomez killed "two teenage boys with their entire lives ahead of them."
"My family will never be complete again," she wrote, adding that the five years without him have been the worst.
Just before imposing the prison term, the judge noted that he understood the pain the victims' family has experienced.—City News Service