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An Ohio judge sentenced an undocumented Mexican immigrant, Juan Emmanuel Razo, to life in prison for the attempted rape of a 14-year-old girl, shooting a woman in a park and the murder of a 60-year-old woman.
Razo, 36, pleaded guilty last month to 16 charges stemming from a 2015 spree in Painesville, Ohio, about 30 miles northeast of Cleveland. Razo wasn’t facing the possibility of the death penalty because of the deal worked out with prosecutors that also eliminated the possibility of parole.
According to a Fox8 Cleveland report, before sentencing Razo, Judge John P. O’Donnell told him, “You don’t have the right to legally be here. You didn’t have the right to legally be here in July 2015 when you committed these offenses.”
On July 27 of last year, a 14-year-old girl contacted police saying that Razo attempted to rape her in a park. Later that day, according to Cleveland.com, he fired a gun and struck at a woman at a greenway about a mile from the park.
Not long afterward, the husband of 60-year-old Margaret Kostelnik reported finding her dead body next to the greenway. Razo had shot her to death.
Lake County Sheriff’s department officers finally caught up to Razo when a man called to complain that a man with a rifle was in his backyard. After a firefight during which Razo hid behind a boulder, the Mexican man was apprehended.
According to prosecutors, he told the arresting officers, “Just because I killed that woman doesn’t make me a bad person.”
In fact, a couple of weeks before the spree, police officers had interviewed Razo and become aware of his immigration status. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), however, declined to put a hold on him.
After Kostelnik’s murder, Painesville officials issued a statement denying that the town, which has one of the largest Latino communities in the greater Cleveland area, is a sanctuary city for undocumented immigrants.
At the time, Lake County Sheriff Daniel Dunlap told reporters that "current rules and regulations are making it extremely difficult for any police officer on the street to know which laws they can or cannot enforce in the area of undocumented persons," according to Cleveland.com.