July 22, 2014
A Reno gang member convicted in the random killing of a construction worker last year has been sentenced to consecutive prison terms of life with the possibility of parole.
Washoe District Judge Jerome Polaha handed down the sentences on Wednesday to Jorge "Puppet" Romero in the July 24, 2002, murder of Juan Barragan Bettencourt.
He was convicted July 18 by a jury that deliberated two hours at the end of a week-long trial.
Romero, 21, a member of the Sunset Trece Gang, shot and killed Bettencourt, 21, who had no gang affiliation. Bettencourt was married with a three-month-old daughter.
Testimony at the trial indicated that Romero was out looking for rival gang members to fight and spotted Bettencourt in the area described during the trial as "Sunset Turf."
Along with the life sentences, the judge sentenced Romero to consecutive five 20-year sentences for the attempted murder of Bettencourt's passenger.
He will serve a minimum of 50 years in prison.