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Calif. Teen Gets Life Without Parole

June 14, 2003

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) _ A teenager who was 14 when he kidnapped a businessman and shot at police has been sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole, becoming one of the youngest defendants in California history to receive the penalty.

Antonio Nunez, now 16, was sentenced Friday by Orange County Superior Court Judge William Froeberg, who rejected arguments that the sentence was cruel and unusual punishment.

In addition to life without parole, Nunez received four additional life terms and 121 years for being found guilty of six counts of attempted murder of a police officer, assault, evading, street terrorism and committing crimes for the benefit of a street gang.

Defense attorney Joel Garson asked the judge to weigh ``the mental maturity″ of the youth, whose reading and math skills were purportedly at a second-grade level.

Garson said Nunez had a ``very minor″ past criminal history and a traumatic family life, including witnessing his brother’s murder and having parents who did not properly supervise him.

Nunez was arrested on April 25, 2001, and charged with kidnapping Santa Ana businessman Delfino Moreno and shooting at officers with an AK-47 during a chase. No one was injured.

Juan Diego Perez, 29, Nunez’s accomplice, was convicted of the same counts and was also sentenced to life without parole in an earlier trial.

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