Alleged MS-13 gang member sentenced after murder plea
BEDFORD COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - The final suspect in an accused gang-related killing in Bedford County has been sentenced to 60 years in prison.
Cristian Sanchez Gomez was sentenced Wednesday in connection with the March 2017 death of Lynchburg 17-year-old Raymond Wood in Bedford County.
“It’s been two thousand and six days since the last time that I saw or spoke to my son. That’s two thousand and six days of memories that were robbed from me and my family,” said Marjorie Stagno, Raymond Wood’s mother.
Stagno was emotional as she spoke directly to Cristian Sanchez-Gomez.
“My son was outnumbered. He fought and I know he fought hard, but yet he was overpowered by the people you associated with. You watched them brutally murder my son,” said Stagno.
He was sentenced to 60 years for first-degree murder, ten years for abduction and ten for gang participation, with sentences running concurrently.
“We’re very satisfied with the sentencing, as is the family. This was a difficult balance for both the Commonwealth and the court to consider. You cannot envision a more horrific crime that Sanchez Gomez participated in, but there had to be some consideration for the assistance that he’s provided both to state and federal authorities,” said Wes Nance, Bedford County Commonwealth’s Attorney.
Sanchez Gomez’s defense attorney spoke about his client’s fear of what gang members would do to him and his family if he didn’t go along with the plan.
“If my client tried to intervene, and somehow stop the violence that was about to be inflicted on Raymond Wood, then… we would have had two casualties. We would have had a double homicide because they would have killed my client,” said Carter Garrett, Sanchez Gomez’s defense attorney.
He had pleaded no contest to the first-degree murder and abduction charges and guilty to the gang participation charge.
“We’re one step closer to having at least some closure of the criminal justice aspects of this case, even thought it will never get full closure for Ms. Stagno and the Wood family,” said Nance.
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