A Tucson man who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder told his victim’s mother Monday he never intended for her son to get hurt.
“It was not my intention to shoot the man. I was very scared. The only thing I meant to do was to protect myself,” Daniel Aguilar, 30, said through a Spanish-speaking interpreter.
Aguilar was sentenced Monday to 16 years in prison in the death of Wayne Antony Johnson, 20.
Johnson and some friends robbed Aguilar, a heroin dealer, in July 2008 and decided to do it again two weeks later after telling Aguilar they were going to buy some heroin from him, according to court testimony.
Defense attorney Vincent Frey told Pima County Superior Court Judge Jane Eikleberry Johnson was pistol whipping Aguilar during the second robbery when Aguilar was able to get the gun away.
Johnson was running away with Aguilar’s drugs, money and cell phone when Aguilar fired several shots into the ground, Frey said.
Two of the shots ricocheted and struck Johnson in the calf and torso, killing him, Frey said.
Aguilar pleaded guilty to second-degree murder last month and was facing between 16 and 22 years in prison.
Frey argued for the 16-year sentence, saying Aguilar had no prior criminal record.
Deputy Pima County Attorney Julie Sottosanti characterized Aguilar’s actions as “cold-blooded” and asked for the maximum sentence. She said he fired his weapon directly at Johnson’s back as Johnson was running away. Witnesses also told police the only person with a gun that day was Aguilar, Sottosanti said.
Johnson’s mother, Mimi Johnson, also asked for the maximum sentence.
“He had no right to take my son from me. It’s very hard for a parent to have to go through something like that. It feels as though my heart was ripped out of my chest, he was my only child and he killed him for no reason at all,” Johnson said. “My son never did no harm to nobody. It’s hard to get up every day because I miss him so much.”
One of Johnson’s friends, Jonathan Alexander Mantzaridis, was originally charged with first-degree murder under the felony murder rule. He pleaded guilty to robbery and was sentenced to six years in prison in May 2009.
Contact reporter Kim Smith at 573-4241 or firstname.lastname@example.org