Yakima teen sentenced 49 years for gas station shooting

YAKIMA, Wash. -- A heavy prison sentence Friday for a boy tried and convicted as an adult for attempted murder. Cesar Prado will spend almost 50 years behind bars for a crime he committed when he was 15.

Prado didn't even flinch when a Yakima judge handed down the sentence for trying to kill a rival gang member and his girlfriend at this gas station two years ago.

KIMA asked, "Is a case like this rare for prosecutors?"

"Well, unfortunately I think it's becoming more common," said Yakima County Prosecutor Troy Clements. "A lot of times we see the gangs recruiting the younger guys to go out and commit these types of crimes under the belief that they're going to stay a juvenile."

But, Prado was tried as an adult. Evidence at the trial revealed he had been involved in gangs since he was about nine years old.

Prado couldn't even legally drive when he fired off 11 shots at a Conoco gas station on 1st Street.

The judge said he got a chance to speak to the jury that convicted him and described some jurors as having tears in their eyes, visibly upset that a 15-year-old child could be sucked into a life of crime and gangs.

"The tragedy is that none of your family or neighborhood or your friends stepped in to keep you out," said Yakima County Superior Court Judge David Elofson.

Juvenile probation officers say it's part of a disturbing trend; younger kids committing more serious crimes.

They point to the recent arrest of 15-year-old Daniel Perez Jr. who is accused of killing a man last month Yakima transit center.

Prosecutors want to try Perez as an adult for second degree murder.

"Generally, there is a lower age for more severe crimes," said Yakima County Juvenile Probation Manager Toni Kirschenmann. "I'm not necessarily meaning major violent crimes. We're seeing 13-year-olds and 14-year-olds doing burglaries and robberies. In the past, that would have been 16 or 17-year-olds."

Probation officers say they're also seeing more kids with guns.

Still, it's not every day a child is being tried as an adult for murder.

Prosecutors wanted a 52-year sentence for Prado.

His lawyer plans to appeal the conviction claiming several errors in the case regarding evidence allowed in the trial.
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