A judge on Monday sentenced 17-year-old Adam Herrera to 18 years in prison for a 2020 shooting that fatally injured an unborn baby.
Herrera pleaded guilty in August to a single count of first-degree murder for shooting a pregnant 17-year-old, mortally wounding the child she was carrying.
Doctors performed an emergency cesarean section, but the baby died 30 minutes after he was born. The infant’s mother survived her injuries.
Second Judicial District Judge Lucy Solimon sentenced Herrera to the maximum prison term allowed under his plea agreement.
“I don’t know if you have any remorse,” Solimon told Herrera during a sentencing hearing. “When I look at you, I see a blank, blank face.”
Solimon said the shooting left the infant’s mother, Karla Malagon, unable to have additional children because doctors had to remove her uterus as a result of the injuries.
The plea agreement allowed the judge to sentence Herrera to a range of five to 18 years in prison. In sentencing Herrera to the maximum, Solimon noted that, in addition to the infant’s death, five people were injured by gunshots from Herrera’s semi-automatic pistol.
Solimon also sentenced Herrera as a serious violent offender, requiring him to serve at least 85% of his sentence before he becomes eligible for parole.
Malagon later told the Journal that she was seven months pregnant at the time of the shooting. She was shot twice in the stomach and remained in a coma for three days.
Police found a total of 24 shell casings outside Aspen Ridge Apartments at 820 Louisiana SE after officers responded to a 911 call on May 14, 2020.
Herrera’s attorney, Adam Oakey, said the fatal confrontation began as an argument among strangers outside the apartment complex. Herrera and others were driving by the complex, leading to a verbal exchange with a group of men fixing a car, he said.
“It looked like it was just a random altercation that happened in the middle of the day,” Oakey said. “I think that whole stupid machismo thing kind of started it.”
When the argument led to a fistfight, Herrera drew a gun and fired in the belief that he was defending an older man he considered a brother or mentor, Oakey said. Herrera, who was 15 at the time, apparently was the only person who fired gunshots, he said.
Malagon said she and her baby’s father began walking away when gunfire erupted, and both were struck by bullets.