A 24-year-old Sacramento gang member convicted of murder in the Memorial Day 2008 shooting death of a man who had been holding his baby in his arms was sentenced today to 50 years to life in prison.
Superior Court Judge Kevin J. McCormick imposed the term on Jose DeJesus Gonzalez for the May 26, 2008, killing of Jose Isabel Guerrero, 47, (pictured) in the front yard of his home on Lindley Drive in a north side neighborhood nicknamed "The Flats."
According to evidence at trial, Gonzalez and a group of Norteno gang members had confronted Guerrero because the victim's stepsons were reputed to be Surenos. A fight ensued and one of the gang members pistol-whipped Guerrero. Authorities said the gun popped loose and that Gonzalez picked it up and shot Guerrero in the head.
Gonzalez denied shooting Guerrero. Co-defendant Jaime Torres, 24, also was convicted and sentenced to the same 50-to-life term. Jurors acquitted Gonzalez' younger brother, Juan Carlos Gonzalez, 23. Four other members of Gonzalez' gang also were convicted in the case.
At today's sentencing, the judge told Gonzalez that the killing resulted from his choice to become involved in a street gang.
"No person could conclude you were anything other than someone who was totally embracing the Norteno lifestyle," McCormick said.
Guerrero's widow, Celica Cardenas, told the court the murder left her family devasted.
"May God never give them a chance to do this to another family and leave more children fatherless like they left mine," Cardenas said. "I want them to stay in jail forever."