TAMPA The gunman in the 2007 murder-for-hire of a Lithia man was sentenced this morning to life in federal prison.
Luis Angel Lopez, 25, was convicted in August after the woman who hired him to kill her husband pleaded guilty and testified against him, according to court records.
Christie Fay Bottorff, 33, and her new husband, Jerry Bottorff, 42, pleaded guilty in July and have been sentenced to life in prison for the June 7, 2007, shooting death of Thomas Lee Sehorne, 37.
After the killing, the victim's widow received $1 million in life insurance proceeds.
The killing went unsolved nearly four years after Christie Bottorff, then known as Christie Fay Sehorne, called 911 to report finding her estranged husband's body near the back door of their Lithia home.
The Sehornes were married about eight years and had two children, a 6-year-old son and a 4-year-old daughter, when Thomas Sehorne was killed.
Less than two years after the killing, the widow married Jerry Bottorff and the couple settled in Brandon, according to Hillsborough County records. They were arrested in 2011 and charged with murder-for-hire in Sehorne's shooting.
Defense attorney Matthew Farmer told U.S. District Judge Steven D. Merryday that his client maintains his innocence, but that he recognized that Merryday, under the law, had no discretion in sentencing for a crime that carries a mandatory life sentence.
Give the opportunity to address the court, Lopez only thanked the judge for the time he took during the trial and in considering the defendant's motion asking him to overturn the verdict.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Terry Furr said he had asked the defendant when he saw him in court why his family wasn't there for the sentencing. Furr said Lopez told him he didn't want his children there.
The victim's brother, Ben, and his mother, Juanita, addressed the court. Ben Sehorne said that as tragic as it was that the defendant made such terrible choices when he was just 19, "We ask that you impose the maximum sentence on him to make sure he never hurts anybody again."
Prosecutors said the murder was arranged for the Bottorffs by Michael Garcia, a former member of the Latin Kings street gang. Garcia later helped authorities solve the case after being arrested on unrelated charges.
Garcia is scheduled to be sentenced Friday.