A 19-year-old man was sentenced Friday to more than 77 years to life in prison for killing a pizza deliveryman who was driving home from work with two of his co-workers in Silver Lake.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Clifford L. Klein denied the defense's motion seeking a new trial for Jose Beltran and noted that the sentence would ensure that the defendant would remain behind bars until he is at least 97.
"Whether he gets parole at (age) 97, that will be up to the parole board,'' the judge said.
Beltran--18 at the time of the crime shooting death of Juan David Vasquez Loma, who was shot once in the head in the 1400 block of Silver Lake Boulevard and was taken off life support a week later.
Beltran grew up in Silver Lake and attended John Marshall High School.
Beltran also was found guilty of two counts of attempted murder involving two of Loma's co-workers who were with him in his car but were not struck by the gunfire, along with one count each of shooting at an occupied motor vehicle and carrying a loaded firearm that was not registered to him.
Kevin Ramsey, who managed Silver Lake's Garage Pizza on Sunset Boulevard where Loma worked, described the victim as a man who would "come to the store literally singing,'' work 12-hour shifts and leave singing. He called the crime "the act of a boy, not a man, a coward.''
Vasquez Loma also held a second job at El Chavo mexican restaurant, just up the street.
Jonathan Mendoza and Luis Andres Lopez, who were with Loma when he was
shot, said they wanted justice.
"For me, it's very difficult to go to sleep because I keep thinking about that night,'' Lopez said through a Spanish interpreter. "...I know that there is justice being made.''
Outside court, Deputy District Attorney Amy Ashvanian said the crime "could be characterized as a road rage'' attack.
"The evidence came out at the trial that the defendant was upset and
angry that the victim's car had passed him at a stop sign'' on a narrow street,"
the prosecutor said.
"The defendant was the first car at the stop sign. The victim's car stopped behind. They waited and waited and waited ... They're trying to get home after a 12-hour shift so they bypass the car.''
Loma was shot less than a mile away.
Beltran's attorney, Simon M. Aval, told the judge his client intended to appeal the case.