A Salinas man was sentenced to two life terms, with a minimum of 56 years in prison, for a gang-related murder committed in 2007 in front of the victim’s young son, the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office announced today.Judge Timothy Roberts on Thursday sentenced Alexis Aguilar, 19, to one life term for first-degree murder, and another for use of a firearm causing death, according to the district attorney’s office. Aguilar also received six additional years for a gang-related charge of using a firearm.On March 4, 2007, Aguilar approached 25-year-old Jose Mexicano from behind as he was walking in Acosta Plaza with his 10-year-old son, Deputy District Attorney David Rabow said. According to testimony, Aguilar asked Mexicano to lift his baseball cap, and upon spotting the tattoo of a rival gang on the back of Mexicano’s head, told the man’s son to leave before shooting his father in the back as he tried to run away.Rabow said Aguilar was a member of a Norteno gang who served time for previous crimes. “The victim was previously identified as a sureno gang member” he said. “He got out of prison and there was no information to indicate he was involved with anything gang-related.”The case had to be tried a second time, after the first trial last summer resulted in a deadlocked jury, Rabow said. Each life sentence comes with a required minimum of 25 years in prison before Aguilar is eligible for parole.Defense attorney Allen Kleinkopf said he was disappointed with the outcome, and questioned the motives of two individuals who testified against Aguilar in exchange for reduced sentences for other convictions.”It’s difficult to get a fair trial in a gang case,” he said.While Rabow said he was “satisfied” with the conclusion, he added, “There’s nothing joyous or happy about seeing a young man sentenced.”He noted that many of Aguilar’s friends were present in court. “We just don’t seem to be reaching the youth about how awful this is for everyone,” he said.
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