Israel Vasquez, the 19-year-old acquitted on Monday of double murder charges, was sentenced to 17 months in prison on Tuesday for a firearms charge related to the crime.
Vasquez, who was dressed in an orange and white jail jumpsuit, was to be released Tuesday after Judge Reuben Young granted him credit for time he has served behind bars since his arrest on Jan. 15, 2013.
The judge’s sentence came after a two-week-long murder trial in which defense attorney Johnny Gaskins raised doubts about the prosecutor’s key witness, a man who admitted being outside the Garner duplex on Colonial Drive where Jose Samuel Flores Mendoza and Maria Saravia Mendoza were gunned down shortly before midnight on Jan. 5, 2013.
Assistant District Attorney David Saacks argued that Vasquez was one of two shooters who blasted through the duplex where the Mendozas had lived for nearly a year. Saacks contended that the couple were unintended victims in a gang war by gunmen who were unaware that their targets, two rival gang members, had moved from that address before the Mendozas moved in.
Vasquez acknowledged being in possession of a stolen gun with an altered serial number that investigators say was used in the shooting, but said he was keeping it for someone else. Possession of the weapon was a felony that brought the 17-month sentence.