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Maximum Sentence Given in Slaying of Neighborhood Drug Fighter

April 9, 1991

NEW YORK (AP) _ A drug dealer has been sentenced to 36 years to life in prison, the maximum penalty, for slaying a woman who police and prosecutors described as an anti- drug crusader.

″Maria Hernandez fought with courage and she refused to turn her head and ignore the drug dealers,″ Assistant Brooklyn District Attorney Marianne Crosley said in asking for the maximum penalty Monday. ″She paid with her life.″

The defendant, 25-year-old Harry Santiago, was convicted last month of murder, criminal weapons possession and reckless endangerment for the Aug. 8, 1989, slaying.

Mrs. Hernandez was standing in the bedroom of her first-floor apartment preparing for work when a bullet crashed through a window and struck her in the head.

Witnesses testified that Santiago and another convicted murderer, William Figueroa, both heroin and cocaine dealers, shot Mrs. Hernandez because she and her husband, Carlos, had worked to chase drug pushers from their block in Brooklyn.

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