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Man gets life sentence for fatal Polk gang shooting

The Associated Press
Published:   |   Updated: March 13, 2013 at 09:43 AM

BARTOW — A central Florida man has been sentenced to life in prison for a fatal gang shooting.

A Polk County judge made 20-year-old Alejandro Baez-Garcia's sentence official today. He was convicted of first-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder last month. Because prosecutors didn't seek the death penalty, life imprisonment was the judge's only option.

Authorities say Baez-Garcia was riding in a van with friends in January 2011 when he opened the sliding door and began firing at people in front of a Lakeland home. The Ledger reports that 19-year-old Juan Castillo and his then-11-year-old brother were both hit. Castillo died from his wounds, and the younger brother was left paralyzed.

A defense attorney claimed Baez-Garcia was acting in self-defense after Castillo and others began throwing rocks and sticks at the van.

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