A man convicted of stabbing a teen who had thrown rocks at his car in Redwood City in 2009 was sentenced today to 36 years to life in prison, according to San Mateo County prosecutors. Luis Adolfo Villa, 21, was sentenced today in connection with the Jan. 3, 2009 murder of 16-year-old Matthew Johnson, San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said. Villa, who was arrested and extradited from Mexico in 2010, was convicted of second-degree murder on Dec. 15, 2011. Although he was 17 years old at the time of the murder, he was tried and sentenced as an adult.
The sentencing had been repeatedly delayed since Villa’s conviction, but Wagstaffe said the victim’s mother expressed satisfaction with the judge’s decision today. “She feels gratified that the system brought justice for her son’s murder and that the killer will be locked up for the greater part of the rest of his life,” Wagstaffe said. Johnson was with two friends, also teenage boys, when he was killed. The trio had been throwing rocks at cars when a rock struck a car containing Villa and two other occupants, police said. Villa and another occupant, Luis Herrera, then 21, got out of the car and Herrera began beating up Johnson while Johnson’s friends ran away, Wagstaffe said. The third occupant of the car never got out and was not prosecuted.
Villa allegedly then stabbed Johnson, leaving him bleeding to death in the street, Wagstaffe said. Herrera, who claimed he didn’t know Villa had a knife, was arrested several days later at his home. On July 14, 2009, he pleaded no contest to felony assault charges and was sentenced later that year to three years’ probation and one year in county jail with credit for time served.
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