BARTOW — A Central Florida man has been sentenced to life in prison for a fatal gang shooting.
A Polk County judge made 20-year-old Alejandro Baez-Garcia's sentence official on Thursday. He was convicted of first-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder last month. Because prosecutors didn't seek the death penalty, life imprisonment was the judge's only option.
Authorities say Baez-Garcia was riding in a van with friends in January 2011 when he opened the sliding door and began firing at people in front of a Lakeland home. The Ledger reports that 19-year-old Juan Castillo and his then-11-year-old brother were both hit. Castillo died from his wounds, and the younger brother was left paralyzed.
A defense attorney claimed Baez-Garcia was acting in self-defense after Castillo and others began throwing rocks and sticks at the van.