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Monday, April 16, 2012

2003 Story } California Teen Gets Life In Prison

California Teenager Given Life Sentence
Published: Sunday, June 15, 2003

A teenager who was 14 when he kidnapped a businessman and shot at the police has been sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole. He is one of the youngest defendants in California history to receive the penalty.

The youth, Antonio Nuñez, now 16, was sentenced on Friday by Judge William Froeberg of Orange County Superior Court, who rejected arguments that the sentence was cruel and unusual punishment.

In addition to life without parole, Mr. Nuñez received four life terms and 121 years. He had been found guilty of attempted murder of a police officer, assault, evading, street terrorism and committing crimes for the benefit of a street gang.

A defense lawyer, Joel Garson, had asked the judge to consider the ''mental maturity'' of Mr. Nuñez, whose reading and math skills were said to be at a second-grade level. He also said Mr. Nuñez had a ''very minor'' past criminal history and a traumatic family life.

Mr. Nuñez was arrested on April 25, 2001, and charged with kidnapping a Santa Ana businessman, Delfino Moreno, and shooting at officers with an AK-47 during a chase. No one was injured.

Juan Diego Perez, 29, Mr. Nuñez's accomplice, was convicted of the same counts and was also sentenced to life without parole in an earlier trial.

A version of this article appeared in print on Sunday, June 15, 2003, on section 1 page 21

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