ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – One of the last teens to be sentenced in connection with the death of an Albuquerque bartender learned his fate Friday, and the victim’s family had strong words for him.
Christopher Rodriguez, 18, will spend 14 years behind bars for his involvement in Steven Gerecke’s death.
Before the judge handed down that sentence, he did have something to say to the family.
“First off, I want to apologize to the family. I never meant for this to happen,” Rodriguez said.
He is one of six teens who spent a night back in 2015 “mobbing,” breaking into cars and homes.
One of the teens shot and killed Grecke after he confronted them in his driveway.
Rodriguez eventually pleaded guilty to charges of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and burglary.
Friday in court, prosecutors argued that Rodriguez’s behavior in juvenile custody shows he hasn’t learned a thing and can’t turn his life around.
He’s been in several fights since the plea.
Also, during his initial court hearing, Rodriguez showed KRQE New 13 cameras his middle finger.
Gerecke’s daughter says Rodriguez is one of the most violent teens involved.
“Because he didn’t change during those pivotal moments. He’s an animal, he’ll always be an animal and we just put him in a cage for a little while,” Heather Alter said.
The defense argued Rodriguez’s extremely troubled upbringing contributed to his bad behavior, and that he wasn’t the one who pulled the trigger.
Last month, Judge Brett Lovelace decided Rodriguez would be sentenced as an adult.
In court, he did say that he still had to consider Rodriguez’s young age in sentencing him to 14 years. He faced 31.
The judge did issue a suspended sentence, which means if Rodriguez messes up after getting out, he could be sent back to serve the entire 31 years.