A teenager accused of the robbery and murder of another teen was sentenced to 26½ years in prison Monday.
Pima County Superior Court Judge Howard Fell sentenced Santos Angel Hernandez for the 2011 slaying of Austin Wayne Maudsley, 16.
“I would have preferred that he got more,” Maudsley’s stepfather, John Buford, said in an interview after the sentencing. “He’s taken away our son’s life.”
Buford said Hernandez, 17, still has a chance at life once he gets out of prison, while Maudsley’s family will never see him mature to adulthood.
Hernandez pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and armed robbery for his role in stabbing Maudsley in a Marana field. Fell sentenced him to 16 years in prison for second-degree murder and
10½ years for armed robbery, with the terms to be served consecutively.
Fell declared a mistrial at Hernandez’s trial in June after the jury could not reach a unanimous verdict.
Hernandez and another teen, Dante Solomon, were accused of killing Maudsley and taking his wallet after the three had arranged to by a small quantity of marijuana.
At trial, Hernandez’s attorneys argued that Solomon had masterminded the killing, noting that the knives they used to stab Maudsley were taken from Solomon’s apartment.
Solomon, 18, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder earlier this year. He was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years.
At Monday’s sentencing, Buford said he wanted to understand why Hernandez wanted to kill Maudsley. “We want to know why you killed Austin and what you got from it,” Buford said.
He also said Maudsley’s family hoped Hernandez was made to suffer loss and regret while in prison.
Hernandez smiled and grinned during the sentencing hearing.
He later apologized to Maudsley’s family and his own, saying the time around the killing was a difficult period in his life.
Deputy Pima County Attorney Laura McGinley said Hernandez has a history of violent behavior, including an incident when he stabbed another child in the back of the head with a pencil.