VISTA, Calif. - A gang member who fatally shot a teenage couple in an Oceanside park in a retaliation attack was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Robert AL'C Bejaran, 21, pleaded guilty last month to two counts of murder and admitted a special circumstance allegation of multiple murders in the May 3, 2011, shooting deaths of 14-year-old Sandra Salgado and 16-year-old Fernando Solano at Libby Lake Park.
Justin Gibson, 21, and Kenneth Hamilton, 36, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in the attack and admitted gang allegations and being vicariously armed with a firearm. They each will be sentenced to 20-year prison terms at a Jan. 14 hearing.
Patrol officers found the teens' bodies at the Calle Montecito Street open-space area about 10:30 p.m. on May 3, 2011, while responding to reports of gunfire.
The teens, who relatives said were boyfriend and girlfriend, had no gang ties, police said.
Bejaran showed little emotion as his victims' families wept while telling the court of their anger and devastation.
Rafaela Santiago is Solano's mother. She spoke through an interpreter, “I want my son's murderer to tell me why he took his life. What did my son do to him? He ruined my life!”
She continued, “I don't feel any pity for his mom because what she raised was a piece of trash.”
Salgado's sister, Maritza Salgado, spoke in English.
“You broke our home and you show no remorse," she said. "You did hurt our family. We will continue to live our lives and be strong while you will never be set free!”
The interpreter read a letter from Salgado’s father, Fernando Salgado.
“I hope you rot in prison because you have destroyed my family. May God forgive you because I'll never forgive you," he wrote.
Salgado's mother also required an interpreter for her angry and tearful words. Ignazia Tellez declared, “I would like that individual to tell me face to face what the reason was that he took away this daughter of mine and took her away from my heart. They destroyed my entire family; they have broken my heart.”
Judge Katz thanked the victims’ family members for their courage in attending the hearing.
According to previous court testimony, Hamilton and Gibson -- members of a predominately black gang -- said they went to the park in rival Hispanic gang territory with Bejaran the night of the murders.
Hamilton told detectives they were smoking marijuana when Bejaran spotted them on a hillside and shot them.
Bejaran's girlfriend testified that he wanted revenge for an attack on Hamilton days earlier.
A fourth gang member, Tyrone Blackmon, pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact and was sentenced to four years in prison.