District Attorney Jeffrey S. Rosell announced today the sentencing of those responsible for a shooting which occurred on April 19, 2013 in the area of 30th and Brommer, which wounded two people, leaving a woman blind. Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the scene of the shooting where they found a woman seriously injured by a shotgun blast to the face and a male who was also shot. The female victim was airlifted to a San Jose trauma center, and is permanently blind as a result of the shooting. After over 6 months of investigation and efforts by both the Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Office and the Santa Cruz County District Attorney’s Office, arrests were made of those responsible. Damian Axel Herrera plead guilty to attempted murder, mayhem, personal discharge of a firearm and gang enhancements. He was sentenced to 35 years in state prison. Juan Manuel Castilla, plead guilty to attempted murder, mayhem, and gang enhancements. He was sentenced to 8 years in state prison. Giovanna Hagio plead guilty to accessory after the fact and gang enhancement, she was sentenced to 4 years.
The sentencing hearing was emotional as the victim who was blinded spoke about how the crime has affected her life. She was a successful real estate agent and property manager, and is now legally blind and cannot work or drive. Both Mr. Herrera and Mr. Castillo apologized to the victim for the pain their actions inflicted upon her.
Assistant District Attorney Johanna Schonfield said the following sentence, “Sadly no amount of time in prison for the defendants can give the victim back what was taken from her. This incident involved a completely senseless act of violence which will impact the victim for the rest of her life. I can only hope this case sends a message to other gang members that committing violent crime in our community will result in decades behind bars.”
District Attorney Jeff Rosell said the following about the substantial sentences, “The sentences in this case demonstrate this office’s commitment to holding accountable those who terrorize our community and that we will tirelessly pursue justice for victims of gang violence.”