Tulare County judge sentenced a South Valley teen for pulling the trigger in a drive by shooting

Friday, October 20, 2017
Brendon Martin
A year and a half has passed since Exeter teen Vanessa Cruz was shot in a driveby shooting.

TULARE, Calif. (KFSN) -- A year and a half has passed since Exeter teen Vanessa Cruz was shot in a drive-by shooting.

Off camera, a family member told Action News the 16-year-old is doing well, able to walk and go to school. But she still experiences pain in her back, leg, and foot.

"In this case, the victim still suffers from her injury, the bullets still lodged in her back, and so she's reminded every day," said Tulare County Assistant District Attorney Kerri Lopez.

Thursday, a month and a half after pleading no contest to attempted murder with great bodily injury and use of a firearm, Brendon Martin was sentenced for the drive-by shooting to 32 years to life in prison.

Two other cases will run concurrently with that sentence. Lopez says they discussed the plea deal with the victim's family and felt it was a good resolution to the case.

Originally, Martin, now 19, was charged with multiple counts of attempted homicide, for the group of people he shot at from a car.

"I mean from what we can see these were all innocent victims walking down the street, minding their own business, and that's where it hits home, this kind of case hits home to all of us because it could be anybody walking down the street that's targeted," said Lopez.

In court, a family member of Cruz told Martin that what he did was wrong. When asked by the judge if he understood that, Martin replied, "Yes sir."