ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The teen who admitted to murdering an Albuquerque man in his own driveway after a night of mayhem was sentenced to 25 years behind bars.
King’s mom also addressed the judge at her son’s sentencing Wednesday, saying her son is a good, respectful kid who made a mistake.
The only sign of emotion Jeremiah King showed Wednesday was a smile as his family sat in the courtroom waiting to hear what his sentence would be.
“He was able to go out, drink alcohol, use drugs, spend time with his friends without any adult supervision whatsoever,” prosecutor Larissa Callaway said.
Jeremiah King was only 16 when he murdered a beloved Albuquerque bartender in his own driveway in the middle of the night back in 2015.
“You have no idea how much Jeremiah, you took from so many people,” said a friend of the victim.
“You took a life and it doesn’t get any worse than that,” the victim’s daughter, Heather Atler, said.
It happened after police say King and five of his friends spent the night “mobbing” — breaking into cars and homes — when Steven Gerecke confronted them in his garage.
King admitted to pulling the trigger.
In court Wednesday, King’s mother told the judge that’s not the son she knew.
“Jeremiah is of good moral character. I realize that may be hard to believe given the circumstances, but it’s true nevertheless,” she said.
“I can’t do much but say sorry. I can prove it by doing good while in prison,” Jeremiah King told the courtroom.
He’ll spend the next 25 years behind bars — a sentence Gerecke’s family says hasn’t come easy.
“This is a good indication that the courts are taking it seriously about how violent and senseless this was,” Gerecke’s widow Vinnie said. “I will never have him back, but that’s OK. We had a full, happy life.”
Vinnie has attended nearly every court appearance for all six of the teens and publicly criticizing all the plea deals. She wanted King to get life.
King could get out of prison by age 40 with good time.
The other five teens all pleaded to lesser charges, not for the killing. They’re awaiting sentencing.