Man given life sentence for death of 2 Valley parents

July 15, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
A Fresno family delivered forgiveness as the man convicted of killing two young parents got sent to prison for the rest of his life Monday.

44-year-old Martin Villalobos Hernandez also spoke at his sentencing, but he offered no apology. Instead, he insisted the wrong man is going to prison.

James Rodriguez and Nicole Allen left behind three children and a tight family who refused to wallow in hatred, even as Hernandez denied everything. They left him with one simple thought as he heads off to spend the rest of his life in prison.

They are children without parents, two boys and a girl whose most vivid memories of their mother and father involve gunshots and blood. Seven years ago, Martin Hernandez shot and killed James Rodriguez and Nicole Allen, leaving their kids to grow up with a grandmother.

"On Mother's Day, I'm the one that has to see them cry, and on Father's Day,"said the children's grandmother, Barbara Rodriguez.

Lenze Pasillas watched helplessly as Hernandez gunned down her brother and his girlfriend in their southwest Fresno apartment. Witnesses say a dispute over a lost dog prompted the violence that also left another brother paralyzed. Pasillas and her family asked the court for the maximum punishment, but say they are leaving the final judgment to God.

"I want you to know that with all this pain you've caused, I still forgive you,"Pasillas said. "One day I hope you can forgive yourself and ask God for forgiveness too."

The family's faith has helped them move past their anger at Hernandez, but their forgiveness was not met with repentance. Instead, Hernandez claimed he's an innocent man being punished for someone else's crime.

"I will die in a jail,"he told the judge through a Spanish interpreter. "But the guilty people are free out there because I saw them that night.

The judge sentenced Hernandez to the maximum -- two life terms without the possibility of parole, plus another 82 years in prison. The Rodriguez family tells Action News it is the kind of justice even the young children will be able to understand.

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