Gang Member Gets 21-Year Prison Sentence for Killing Two Highland Park Teens

Victim’s brother calls sentence ‘a slap on the hand.’

By EGP & City News Service

A gang member has been sentenced 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 last week 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.

She repeated the words she had said so many times since her son’s violent death: “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’ families has experienced.

But in 2013, just before Mother’s Day, Garcia’s mother, taking part in the 6th Annual Peace in the Northeast Walk as part of contingent of mothers who’d lost a child to violence, told EGP that people need to understand that when you kill someone it dramatically affects their families.

And while she understood that the families of the two suspects were probably also suffering, the pain they feel cannot compare to what she has suffered.

“I understand they are locked up, but at least they can see them … When will I see my son?”

 To read past stories about this case, go to www.EGPNews.com

 

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May 15, 2014  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

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