FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Angel Morelos was 18 years old when he went into Stereo DJ Outlet and Mari's Jewelry with a plan to rob the store. But it ended in cold-blooded murder.
Prosecutors say after his accomplices ran out into the parking lot with jewelry, Morelos pulled a gun on the owner's son, shooting him twice in the head.
Morelos acknowledged Tuesday that his words don't mean a lot considering his actions that day.
"I just want to say I'm sorry to the family," Morelos said. "I regret it every day of my life and I ask for your guys forgiveness, and I pray for everybody's forgiveness."
Twenty-two-year-old Christopher Leon died that day after helping hold down Morelos before police arrived. Leon's mother owns the store where the violence unfolded.
Leon's sister said it's been hard for the entire family to continue on with life.
"It's been very hard for my mom to continue in her business where my little brother was murdered," says Margie Martin. "Every day, my mom has to live her pain. We have to live it with her."
While in jail, Morelos has completed high school requirements and applied for college. He also meets weekly with a spiritual counselor, who spoke to the court about the positive changes he's seeing in the defendant.
But the judge could not ignore the lifestyle Morelos was living at the time of the crime. He was a gang member who used alcohol, marijuana and Xanax.
"The harm will never go away, but saying you're sorry and taking responsibility is the first step in the next part of your life: to live it to your fullest," says Hon. Heather Jones with the Fresno County Superior Court. "And you owe that to the victims."
Morelos received the harshest punishment for the crime. The other defendants received five years in a juvenile correctional facility. The youngest was 12 years old and received one year at the Juvenile Justice Center.
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