Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Orlando teen sentenced to 60 years for stabbing classmate

The Associated Press

A 17-year-old boy was sentenced to 60 years in prison for fatally stabbing a classmate at a high school bus stop.

Circuit Judge Marc Lubet sentenced Kelvin De La Cruz on Friday. A jury convicted the teenager of second-degree murder in April for stabbing 15-year-old Michael Nieves.

De La Cruz was spared a mandatory life sentence when the jury passed on a first-degree murder conviction.

"By my calculations, you'll be close to 70 when you get out of prison, and perhaps then you won't be a danger to society anymore," Lubet told De La Cruz in the courtroom.

Authorities said the argument began at lunch over a girl and continued at a bus stop on the University High School campus last October.

De La Cruz maintains that he stabbed Nieves in self defense. His lawyers have a hearing scheduled Friday for a motion for a new trial.

De La Cruz's mother and older sister, present in the courtroom, sobbed as the sentence was read.

"You think 60 years is better than life in prison, but no," his older sister, Claribel Ramirez, said afterward. "For us and my family, in a way my brother is dead too. We can only see him on a TV and talk to him on the telephone."

Nieves' family and friends hugged each other after the sentencing.

"Justice was served," said Carmen Salicrup, the slain boy's mother.


Information from: Orlando Sentinel, http://www.orlandosentinel.com">http://www.orlandosentinel.com

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