SoCal Man Given Lengthy Prison Sentence For Shooting Four People

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) - A man was sentenced to more than 250
years in prison for trying to kill four people, including a girl who now has learning disabilities and memory problems.

Superior Court Judge Peter Spinetta on Friday sentenced Max Romero III to a prison term of 200 years to life plus 56 years for four counts of premeditated attempted murder. Spinetta said such a harsh sentence would show "how much we abhor this sort of a thing ... and give some catharsis for the victims involved."

Romero shot his girlfriend, Manuela Sepulveda; her mother, Wanda Darkes; Sepulveda's 21-month-old son, Andrew Albidrez; and her 5-year-old daughter, Megan Fajardo, in November 2005. Romero fled but was later arrested in Phoenix.

On a 911-tape, moments after the shooting, Sepulveda pleaded for

"My boyfriend just shot me and my kids," she screamed to a 911 dispatcher. "Oh my God, he killed my kids."

Megan's stepmother, Shannon Fajardo, told the judge that the bullet lodged in the girl's brain and has left the second-grader unable to tie her shoes, brush her teeth or remember what she ate 10 minutes after a meal.

"These two innocent children never did anything but give love," Darkes said. "I see the pain and frustration in my granddaughter's life. ... It will not be over, and (Romero) should pay for what he did."

Romero showed no emotion, but his attorney said his client is sorry for what he did.

"I know he is very remorseful for what happened ... he never intended to injure the children," his attorney Eric Isaac told the judge.

Since 1997, Romero has been in and out of state prison. He has
convictions for assault with a firearm, illegal weapons possession and possession of a controlled substance, according to state prison records.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-03-15-08 1322EDT

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