A Seattle man and Sureno gang member killed a man for wearing a red hat. Instead of a life sentence, he will only spend 16 years in prison.
Recently, a Yakima County Superior Court judge sentenced Primitivo Garcia, 23, to 16 years in prison for the shooting death of John J. Pryor, 45. Though Garcia was to stand trial, prosecutors offered him an Alford plea instead.
The plea allowed him to admit authorities had enough evidence against him while maintaining his innocence. As a result, prosecutors dropped the charges of aggravated first-degree murder, drive-by shooting and first-degree unlawful firearm possession in exchange for second-degree murder and second-degree assault.
On Jan. 20, 2019, officers found Pryor by the carport of his home in the 1800 Block of South 12th Avenue after he was shot in the neck while working on his car, reported Yaktri News.com. He was rushed to the hospital but died from his wound two months later.
According to prosecutors, Garcia and other Sureno gang members had been out spraying graffiti on walls when they sighted Pryor wearing a Kansas City Chief’s hat. Assuming he was a member of a rival gang, the defendant shot him.
Pryor’s son Anthony McDonald expressed his frustration with prosecutors in regard to the plea deal with Garcia.
“This doesn’t really feel like justice. It doesn’t really feel like accountability. It just feels like they are just moving through things, and unfortunately my dad had to go through this,” said McDonaldafter the sentencing hearing, according to Yakima Herald-Republic.
Garcia’s lawyer believed prosecutors offered the plea deal after careful consideration based on the weak evidence and against his client and the strength of their case.
The defendant still faces multiple charges for a May 8, 2019, assault on a correctional officer and another inmate.