From Andy Furillo:
A Sacramento gang member received a 40-to-life sentence today in the shooting death two years ago of an Elk Grove man who was about to go into the Navy.
Manuel Jose Cervin stared straight ahead when Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael W. Sweet imposed the term for what he characterized as the defendant's "act of cowardice" in the Dec. 22, 2006, murder of 21-year-old Marc Grimes in the driveway of his home.
Cervin, 25, was the driver in a car filled with Norteno gang members that got in a confrontation with Grimes at 11:45 p.m. the night of the shooting. Grimes had just gotten home after a night out with his girlfriend when a minor traffic dispute with Cervin escalated into the killing.
During the confrontation, Cervin rolled down his driver's side window while a passenger shot from inside the car and killed Grimes. The shooter has not been arrested.
Three friends and relatives of Grimes read written, tearful statements to Cervin during the sentencing, expressing their pain and sense of loss in the death of a friend, brother and son.
Grimes' mother, Jody Lawson, told Cervin he could have continued to drive away from the scene of the confrontation but instead backed his vehicle toward the victim to continue the argument in the seconds before the shooting.
"You could have let it go," the tearful Lawson told Cervin.
Police and prosecutors said Cervin's gang affiliation would not allow it.
"You should come up for parole," Lawson continued, "when Marc returns to his family on this earth."