California pot grower who killed immigrant worker to avoid payments gets life sentence

A California marijuana farmer convicted of killing one immigrant worker and shooting another over a payment dispute at his pot farm will spend the rest of his life in prison.

A federal judge sentenced Mikal X. Wilde on Wednesday to life in prison plus another 35 years.

A jury last month convicted the 33-year-old Wilde of murder, attempted murder and drug and gun charges.

Prosecutors said Wilde killed one worker and shot the other in the face and left him for dead after they demanded payment for working on his Humboldt County marijuana farm in 2010.

The injured worker hid in the woods for a night before calling authorities. The two workers were from Guatemala and were in the U.S. without proper documentation.

Prosecutors said in court filings that Wilde hired the men "to work on his marijuana grow in the belief that they were expendable, not in a position to complain, and that they might not be missed if they disappeared forever into the woods of Humboldt County."

Prosecutors argued for life in prison because of the nature of the crimes.

"When he could not pay them, he murdered one and tried to murder the other," prosecutors wrote in court papers. "The defendant preyed on their status and viewed them as free labor that could not stand up to him."

Wilde's attorney didn't return a phone call for comment Thursday.