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Shooter gets life without parole

Judge rebukes Joshua Blount for shooting five men in the back. Blount’s mother maintains that he is innocent of the killing.

August 15, 2008|By Joseph Serna

Maciel’s family addressed Blount directly only once, instead using the opportunity to humanize Maciel for the judge.

“Israel was the first in our family to receive a high school diploma. I just wonder about the things he could accomplish if he were alive today,” said Bernice Contreras, Maciel’s cousin. “Maybe sometime, Joshua Blount will know how much pain and suffering he has caused our family.”

Blount’s family, for their part, didn’t deny the pain Maciel’s family has endured. To them, however, the justice system has failed, and the wrong man is behind bars.

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“I’m proud to be [Blount’s] mother because he is a good son with a big heart,” Angelica Blount told the judge before the sentencing through an interpreter. “I’m truly sorry for what happened to the Maciel family. But in my heart, I’m sure my son is innocent. I know he had nothing to do with this and God knows about it.”

Luis Arenas also blamed a failed system for his cousin’s conviction.

“I know my cousin, and I know he didn’t do it,” Arenas said outside the courtroom after the sentencing. “He doesn’t have the guts to do something like that. He wouldn’t do that to his worst enemy.”

The defense motioned for a new trial before the sentencing, arguing that prosecutors misrepresented one of their witness’ testimony.

Anthony Dispensa, who was also charged for the murder, testified that he was in the car with Blount, but thought they were only going to fight. Blount’s defending attorney told the judge that while there was no written deal that Dispensa’s charges would be dropped in exchange for testimony, it was implied and would have cast doubt on his testimony for jurors. Dispensa testified he hoped for leniency, but was not promised any.

Two days after Blount was convicted, all charges against Dispensa were dropped.

Maciel’s mother, Augustina Mendoza, harbors little anger toward Blount, she said in court through an interpreter.

“I thank God for giving me a humble heart and the humility. That’s why I don’t feel any hate inside me against you,” she told Blount. “I’m going to leave all that in the hands of God … He will judge each of us. And He will judge you, young man.”

EXCERPTS FROM JOSHUA BLOUNT'S SENTENCING

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