Two cousins found guilty in the "thrill" killing of a 21-year-old developmentally impaired man were sentenced Friday to life in prison by a judge who branded them "weak cowards."
"For a thrill, the defendants took a life and destroyed a family," said San Diego County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Fraser.
Humberto Galvez, 22, and Juan Ignacio Gomez, 24, were convicted of the April 2011 shotgun slaying of Jordan Hickey, who was pushing his bicycle near his home in National City.
Galvez fired three shotgun blasts at Hickey as he and his cousin drove by, authorities said. Galvez pleaded guilty to murder; Gomez was convicted at trial. During Gomez's trial, testimony indicated that he and Galvez had been driving around looking for someone to kill for the "thrill."
In passing sentence, Fraser said the two will not be eligible for parole.
Hickey's family expressed their rage at the two before Fraser announced their sentences, but Galvez and Gomez refused to face them during the court proceeding.
One of Hickey's cousins brought an urn with his ashes. Hickey's brother, Justin, expressed his anger in a profanity-laced rap song in which he called Galvez and Gomez "lice" and predicted that they will be sexually abused in prison.
Hickey's mother, Jeannine, said she is agonized by the thought that the final sound that her son heard was the blast of a shotgun. "You're despicable," she shouted at her son's killers.
Hickey's girlfriend, Valeria Padilla, tearfully remembered their plans to get married. "All I have left is a handful of ashes," she said.