Guadalupe Galeno-Hernandez, 13 years old, sat in her wheelchair Friday and let someone else read her letter to the teenager who shot her in the throat, paralyzing her for life.
"What I miss the most from my life before is playing, dancing and going to the park," she had written. "There isn't any part of my life now that I like better than before."
Guadalupe wanted Marlon A. Lozano-Montano to write her a letter in return. Standing in the courtroom, lawyer by his side, Lozano-Montano, 17, didn't look at her. When the judge asked him if he had anything to say, he said no.
Lozano-Montano was sentenced to nearly 13 years in prison. On Nov. 12, he stood up through the sunroof of a car and fired blindly into a crowd of young people standing on a porch at 34th Street and Chicago Avenue S. in Minneapolis. The bullet severed Guadalupe's spinal cord. She spent five months in a hospital.
The shooting was later determined to be for the benefit of a gang, but the kids who were fired upon did not have gang affiliations, according to police.
Lozano-Montano was 16 when he shot Guadalupe, but had been a gang member since his early teens, according to Susan Crumb, a prosecutor for the Hennepin County attorney's office.
Guadalupe's mother, Hilda Hernandez, attended the hearing with her daughter and had her own statement read into the record.
"Tell the people who did this: Leave your gangs. Stop hurting innocent people."
Lozano-Montano looked down, stifling a smile.
The mother went on to describe her post-shooting life with Guadalupe, and how her daughter's paralysis has been an emotional and physical burden on the family that often leaves them exhausted by simple tasks.
After the hearing, Crumb, the prosecutor, spoke about the difficulty of prosecuting gang members, since some people will refuse to cooperate for fear of retaliation. Lozano-Montano has other criminal charges to face: Three days after shooting Guadalupe, he and an accomplice are accused of beating a teenager with a crowbar.
A Crime Stoppers tip helped lead police investigators to Lozano-Montano in early January, according to court records. He was jailed that month. He pleaded guilty last month to first-degree assault. The driver of the car was also caught and charged. She will be sentenced Aug. 1.
The 155-month sentence handed down by Hennepin District Judge John M. Stanoch is longer than what state guidelines call for because of Lozano-Montano's gang ties and the fact that his victim was a child.
After the hearing, Guadalupe and her mother said it was difficult to come to court.
"I was worried to see him," Guadalupe said.
She then thanked people who have been praying for her. Then she left the courthouse, her mother following behind her wheelchair.
Matt McKinney • 612-217-1747