A jury sentenced an Arizona man, Christopher Rey Licon, to life in prison Friday for killing his six-year-old nephew after the child witnessed his father’s shooting death.
Licon was spared the death penalty and a judge will decide whether he will spend the rest of his life in prison or be eligible for release after 35 years.
Licon was convicted in mid-September in the 2010 shooting deaths of his half brother, Angel Jaquez, and his nephew, Xavier Jaquez.
Jurors deliberated for two days before reaching the decision on punishment.
He does not face the death penalty in his brother’s killing and will be sentenced to 16 to 25 years on December 16.
Authorities say Licon shot his brother in the back of the head over a drug dispute as Jaquez watched TV at their Phoenix town house, then kidnapped the child and shot him 20 miles away in an alley.
Fearing six-year-old Xavier Jaquez would ‘snitch’ on him for shooting his father, Christopher Rey Licon kidnapped the child and drove to an alley 20miles away, then shot him dead.
The boy, surrounded by a pool of blood, was still wearing his school uniform and had a Burger King kid’s meal nearby when his body was found by sanitation workers. He also was shot in the back of the head.
Licon mounted an unsuccessful insanity defense that would have spared him a prison sentence and sent him to the state mental hospital for the rest of his life.
Licon was in an illegal drug business with Jaquez and acknowledged selling drugs in the months before both deaths, prosecutors said.
Licon, then a construction management student at Arizona State University, told investigators that he was studying at a library in the Phoenix suburb of Tempe at the time his brother was killed.
He said he came home to find his brother’s body in the town house.
But authorities say Licon’s alibi collapsed quickly after they interviewed neighbors and gathered other evidence.
Two key pieces of evidence were found inside the car used to bring the boy to the alley: a 9 mm bullet casing that matched a casing found at Jaquez’s home and a toy from the Burger King kid’s meal.