Wiggle room in punishment for pregnant woman's murderer

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Ten years after gang members gunned down Nath Ouch in front of her Southeast Fresno apartment, the last person punished for the crime is finding some legal wiggle room. (KFSN)

Ten years after gang members gunned down Nath Ouch in front of her Southeast Fresno apartment, the last person punished for the crime is finding some legal wiggle room.

Jose Angel Perez was originally sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. Thursday, it was reduced to 80 years to life. But a relatively new law means he could actually get out in 20.

Eight months pregnant and delivering a bowl of soup to her husband, Nath Ouch became an innocent victim of a gang war.

Eight years later, bullet holes remained in the walls of the nearby apartment as one of the gunmen, Jose Angel Perez, was sent to prison for murdering ouch and her unborn child.

Her family fought through the pain two years ago to let Perez know how much it hurt.

He was back in court Thursday, but the family didn't want to go through it again.

"It's a very difficult time for them," said assistant Fresno County district attorney Jeff Dupras, who prosecuted Perez. "You know, this was a hugely tragic case."

After an appeals court rejected the initial punishment because of a mistake in jury instructions, Dupras agreed to accept two second degree murder convictions against Perez instead of going through a whole new trial. He got 80 years to life, but because California legislators passed a "youthful offenders" law last year, Perez will get a parole hearing at age 51 instead of 106.

And starting with his comments to Ouch's family in 2014, he's taken a lot of steps towards a possible release.

"I'm sorry to the victims' family for what happened and I'm here as a man today to accept responsibility for my actions," he said in March 2014. "I'm sorry."

"He has been productive and remorseful in spite of the fact at that time he thought he would never get out," said his defense attorney Pete Jones.

"I think that's very important," ABC30 legal analyst Tony Capozzi said. "The fact that he accepted responsibility, admitted what he did, and expressed sorrow for what he did. If it was life without the possibility of parole, it would've meant nothing but yet he took that step forward which ultimately, by a quirk in the law, is going to help him out."

Perez did not fire the bullet that killed Ouch and the baby, but Capozzi says the fact that he did open fire will work against him at a parole hearing.
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