Benito Gomez sentenced to 114 years in prison

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In this May 23, 2011 file photo, Benito Gomez leaves the Walla Walla County Superior Courtroom after his first appearance in court for the killing of Julio Cesar Martinez.

WALLA WALLA - Benito Gomez looked down, blinked and shook his head slightly as he was sentenced Tuesday afternoon to spend the rest of his life in prison.

The result was a foregone conclusion after a Superior Court jury convicted him last month of murdering a rival gang member and shooting at other people in a confrontation last year in an alley in the west end of town.

At Tuesday's sentencing, Judge Donald W. Schacht formally imposed a prison term of 114 years and 10 months, which is the high end of the standard range - including firearms enhancements - that Gomez faced.

His attorney, Jerry Makus, asked for the low end of 91 years and nine months. But Schacht ruled that the maximum "is an appropriate sentence in this case."

Schacht gave Gomez credit for the 430 days he's already served in the County Jail.

Gomez, now 19, was found guilty by the jury June 12 of second-degree murder in the shooting death of 20-year-old Julio Cesar Martinez, and of six counts of first-degree assault for shooting at other people in the alley and in an adjacent residence.

Gomez told Schacht on Tuesday, "You got the wrong guy. I'm going to appeal this case."

His brother, Ramon Gomez, also said at the court hearing that his family strongly believes Benito Gomez is innocent.

For more on Tuesday's sentencing, see a story in Wednesday's newspaper and here online.

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