A 17-year-old MS-13 gang member was sentenced to 40 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to the horrific murder of a teenager who was stabbed 153 times at a Maryland park in 2016.
Prosecutors called the death of 17-year-old Christian Villagran Morales at the hands of Juan Gutierrez-Vazquez “demonic.” One other has been sentenced and another two are awaiting trial for the gruesome killing.
In court on Thursday, prosecutor Robert Hill said Gutierrez-Vasquez had just turned 16 when he agreed to take part in the brutal murder. His job, Hill said, was to hold down the victim while other gang members took turns stabbing Morales, a total of 153 times, Fox 5 DC reported.
Hill said Gutierrez-Vasquez had been a member of the MS-13 gang before coming to the United States from El Salvador.
According to authorities, the gang members believed Morales was part a rival gang after he allegedly flashed gang signs to three people he had just met, not knowing there were part of the notorious MS-13 gang.
“He did flash some gang signs trying to impress these young men who were around him and he did not realize that they were part of MS-13, and that did cause them to report back to their hierarchy,” Ramon Korionoff, spokesperson for the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office, told Fox 5 DC. “In fact, he was greenlighted because of that.”
Authorities said Morales may have been lured to the park by Vanesa Alvarado, who promised him sex, and then by the gang members who offered to smoke weed with him. Instead, they killed him.
The other two suspects were identified as Oscar Delgago-Perez and Jose Coreas Ventura.
Alvarado, 20, was sentenced to 40 years in prison in May 2017.
On Thursday, Gutierrez-Vazquez’s lawyer asked for mercy, saying the teenager had a horrible childhood and only acted along with the gang due to peer pressure.
“I’m sorry, but my life was in danger,” Gutierrez-Vazquez said during his sentencing hearing. “Maybe they can forgive me. God has already forgiven me.”
Morales’ mother told reporters that she was felt “tranquil” after the sentencing.
“There was some justice,” she said through a translator.