Posted by Phoenix Assault Attorney Nick Alcock:
A Tucson man who admitted to fatally shooting his mother’s boyfriend has been sentenced to seven years in prison for manslaughter.
18-year-old Angel Marcelino Lerma was indicted on first-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder charges two years ago for his role in the August 2010 death of Jorge Castillo, 36. Lerma pleaded guilty last month to manslaughter and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Under the terms of his plea agreement, he was facing between seven and 36 years in prison.
Castillo was killed after getting into an argument with Lerma outside a Tucson Mobile Home Park. Lerma was arrested five days later and indicted on the murder charges. Assistant Pima County Public Defender Sheena Chawla said after the initial hearing that her client shot Castillo, a registered sex offender who was in the country illegally, because he was beating Lerma’s mother in front of several of children. Meanwhile, Joaquin Armenta, was almost shot in the process, told Pima County Superior Court Judge Teresa Godoy the potential sentence Lerma was facing was too light for someone who killed one person and tried to kill another.
Court records indicate Chawla had concerns about Lerma’s competency to stand trial because he was a special education student, had sustained multiple blows to the head in the five years preceding his arrest and used drugs for a lengthy period of time starting at a young age. Lerma was ultimately deemed competent. The Arizona Daily Star said Castillo was a registered sex offender who was in the country illegally.
Soccer coaches, a counselor and a teacher wrote letters to Judge Godoy on Lerma’s behalf, court documents state. Godoy sentenced Lerma to seven years for the manslaughter and five years for the assault and ran them concurrently.
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