Kingsburg man sentenced for killing 21-year-old with 'heart of gold'

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James Moreno loved everyone, and everyone loved him-- powerful words spoken by Denise Chavez in court Friday about her younger brother. (KFSN)

James Moreno loved everyone, and everyone loved him-- powerful words spoken by Denise Chavez in court Friday about her younger brother. But she said words are not enough for the pain her family feels, because of what Victor Zavala did last summer.

"Forty years will never be enough for what we lost."

On June 16th, an intoxicated Zavala stole a car and lead police on a high-speed chase near Kingsburg. The pursuit was called off, but Zavala later blew a stop sign and crashed into an SUV carrying Moreno, two female friends, and two small children.

Moreno was killed, the others injured.

At just 21-years-old, friends and family say Moreno had his whole life ahead of him and was already a great son, brother, and uncle. He wanted to be a corrections officer, and always had a smile on his face.

"James was amazing. Everybody loved him. He's the true definition of having a heart of gold. We miss him dearly," said Chavez.

"James was a good man and they took the best man out of this life, out of this world," said Diane Moreno, victim's sister.

Zavala recently pleaded guilty to second degree murder and felony evading.

Zavala told Moreno's family he takes full responsibility for his actions, and is terribly sorry for the pain he has caused.

Zavala will now go to Wasco State Prison.

Moreno's family members say they will work to keep his memory alive.

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