Va. teen gets 28 years in gang slaying
A Fairfax County youth who was 16 when he participated in the beating death of a rival street gang member last year was sentenced Friday to 28 years in prison.
Mario Reyes, now 17, acknowledged bringing a baseball bat to Woodlawn Park last March along with a fellow member of the Mara Salvatrucha gang, Francisco Gonzalez Sanchez, who was also 16. Gonzalez had been in the Fairfax juvenile jail for malicious wounding in November 2009, with a prior conviction for malicious wounding, when he was allowed to leave with his mother for a dentist's appointment, testimony in a court hearing showed.
Gonzalez did not return from the appointment.
Fairfax juvenile court officials acknowledged the error and said they put more safeguards in place to keep dangerous teen inmates from fleeing.
Prosecutors said that on March 19, Gonzalez and Reyes turned up at Woodlawn Park in the Mount Vernon area and that after Reyes began striking Christian Perez, 16, in the ribs, Gonzalez took the bat and began beating Perez in the head.
Perez, identified in court as a member of Surenos, another Hispanic street gang, died.
Gonzalez was later arrested in New York. Reyes was picked up in Woodbridge.
Reyes pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in November. He faced a maximum sentence of 40 years and received 28 years from Fairfax Circuit Court Judge Brett A. Kassabian. Last month, Gonzalez pleaded guilty to first-degree murder. His sentencing is set for May 13.
| February 25, 2011; 7:15 PM ET
Categories: Fairfax, Homicide, Juvenile Justice, Tom Jackman, Updates
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