Andrew Cervantes, who at 14 was believed last year to be the youngest person charged as an adult for murder in Orange County, today received what is likely the stiffest sentence handed to a 15-year-old here: 40 years to life in state prison.
Cervantes was convicted in September of second degree murder and gang sentencing enhancements for gunning down Manuel Raul Orozco after a stare-down contest near Friendship Park and the 17-year-old's Santa Ana home.
Cervantes will serve his sentence at the Orange County Youth Authority until he reaches age 18, at which point he will be transferred to a state prison.
According to a report by the Orange County Register's Vik Jolly, Orozco's mother told the court she forgives Cervantes and hopes God does, too. But Deputy District Attorney Mark Geller reportedly said, as “sad” as it is, so long as kids keep killing kids, they will be tried as adults.
Meanwhile, Jolly quotes Orange County Superior Court Judge William Froeberg, who handed down the sentence, lamenting, “It's like somebody keeps poking a wound that doesn't heal. It only gets
worse. Every time I have someone like Mr. Cervantes, it just aggravates
me more. Children keep killing children for the stupidest reasons in the
world. His family is ruined. The decedent's family is ruined.”
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.