INDIO, Calif. - A La Quinta man was sentenced Friday to 40 years to life in prison for the shooting death of a 16-year-old boy in Indio.
Jose Luis Garcia, 24, was convicted last month of second-degree murder, along with sentence-enhancing allegations of using a firearm and gang activity, for the killing of Christian Hernandez on Feb. 21, 2009.
The victim was found dead of a gunshot wound to the chest outside an
apartment complex in the 83400 block of Capricorn Avenue just after midnight on Feb. 21, according to police and court documents.
At the sentencing, Hernandez's mother, Enedina Corral, spoke through a
Spanish interpreter about her ``very deep pain'' caused by her son's death,
while Garcia's mother said her son was innocent.
``I'm going to fight to the end to find out who did this to Christian and to my son,'' Celia Garcia said.
Deputy District Attorney Manny Bustamante said Garcia told police in an
interview ``how he shot the victim as he was running away.''
He said both young men had been ``taken in'' by the gang lifestyle,
``and because of this indoctrination (Garcia) felt he had to act a certain
According to court documents, police found out that a North Side Indio
gang member, later identified as Garcia, was bragging about the murder.
Garcia, 19 at the time of the shooting, told police in an interview that he was walking through the apartment complex on Capricorn when Hernandez asked him what he was looking at.
Garcia responded, ``Nothing,'' and then ``I back up North Side Indio.''
The victim said, ``(Expletive) North Side Indio.''
``The defendant said he overreacted and shot the victim,'' court documents stated.
Hernandez was a member of the Jackson Terrace gang, according to court
Garcia was arrested on suspicion of murder after police served search warrants in Thermal and his residence. North Side Indio gang paraphernalia was found in his bedroom, according to court documents.