Gang member sentenced for role fatal stabbing
Juan Rocha convicted in death of Devin Allen
Last Updated: 243 days ago
VISTA, Calif. - A gang member was sentenced Friday to 15 years to life in prison for his involvement in the racially motivated stabbing death of a 27-year-old man outside a popular Carlsbad bar last year.
Juan Rocha, 21, was convicted in August of second-degree murder in the March 25, 2011, death of Devin Allen.
Police said Rocha and a second man -- identified as Pedro Avalos -- confronted Allen and a friend about 10:30 p.m. as they walked to their car near Hensley's Flying Elephant Pub and Grill.
Investigators said the victim had no gang ties, but was targeted because he was black in a neighborhood claimed by a Latino street gang.
According to police, Rocha asked Allen if he had a lighter, then asked if Allen and his friend knew who he was and that they were in gang territory.
Avalos -- who remains at large -- stabbed Allen once in the stomach and fled, police said.
Michael Allen wiped away tears as he remembered his oldest child. He had words of forgiveness for Rocha.
"It's been quite a ride," Michael Allen said. "This is a young man who made a mistake, a bad mistake."
Rocha's family also addressed the court Friday.
"I wanted to tell you how sorry I am for your loss," said Rocha's mother, Diana, as she sobbed and directly addressed the Allen family. "We do feel your pain and we pray for your family all the time."
Before he received his sentence, Juan Rocha also spoke to his victim's family.
"I hope you find justice. I hope you find peace, and I hope God answers your prayers. Thank you for being understanding. Obviously, you guys are good people. You guys are full of love. I pray for your family and the kids," Rocha said as he held back tears. "I'm sorry."
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. City News Service contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.