The second of two teenagers prosecuted as adults in a Wapato gang shooting that paralyzed another teen was sentenced Thursday to 3½ years in prison.
Armando Hernandez Lopez, who turned 18 Sunday, also was sentenced to a year and a half of post-prison probation for his plea in Yakima County Superior Court to a charge of second-degree assault.
The case stemmed from an attack in Wapato on July 6, 2011, that left 18-year-old Jose Meza paralyzed from the waist down.
According to court records, Meza was shot twice in the back during a disturbance near the corner of North Wapato Avenue and West A Street.
Police said Meza told his girlfriend and several witnesses who came to his aid that he had been shot by “Curly,” the street name for 16-year-old gang member Angel Antonio Gonzalez.
Gonzalez and Lopez, an associate who was also 16 at the time, were arrested on assault charges and then remanded from juvenile court to face prosecution as adults.
Deputy prosecutor Troy Clements said further investigation suggested the shooting stemmed from a confrontation between Meza and the defendants outside a home on nearby North Track Road and that his case was hampered by witness credibility issues, particularly that of Meza.
“It’s not what we believe happened, it’s what we can prove that dictates resolution of cases,” he said.
As part of his plea, Lopez is prohibited from associating with gang members and getting any gang tattoos or piercings while he is in prison and on probation.
Gonzalez, now 17, pleaded guilty last month to a charge of second-degree assault. He was sentenced to six months in jail, which was technically less time than the 528 days he actually served before his plea.