TRENTON, N.J. - A 22-year-old gang member was sentenced to life in a New Jersey prison Tuesday for killing a young mother because she had witnessed another crime.
At his sentencing hearing, Angel Hernandez denied shooting Jeri Lynn Dotson. He was convicted after a jury trial last year of her murder and the attempted murder of Alex Ruiz, who was strangled and left in a dumpster on Duck Island, an isolated industrial area in Trenton.
Prosecutors said Dotson, whose body was found by her 3-year-old daughter, was killed because she had seen Ruiz being kidnapped.
Hernandez told Judge Darlene Pereksta that joining the Latin Kings was "a poor decision" but denied killing Dotson.
"I can't apologize for something I didn't do," he said.
His father, Miguel, said afterward his son "was convicted before they started" and said the verdict would be appealed.
Assistant Prosecutor Thomas Meidt asked the judge to tell the public "gang violence will not be tolerated."
© 2008 United Press International. All Rights Reserved.