Teens plead guilty in slaying of 16-year-old rival gang member
Posted November 20, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — A Wake County judge on Wednesday accepted guilty pleas from two teen brothers charged in the 2012 slaying of a 16-year-old rival gang member, who was shot in the head while walking home from the store.
Brayan Hernandez-Sierra and Ceferino Hernandez-Sierra, who were 13 and 15 at the time of the shooting, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, conspiracy and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill in the death of Fernando Garibay-Benitez.
Brayan, who is now 14, was sentenced to a minimum of 30 years in prison. Cerefino, who is now 17, received a minimum of 26 years in prison.
The brothers, who were initially charged as juveniles, are ineligible for the death penalty because they were under the age of 18 when the crime was committed.
Garibay-Benitez was walking home with friends to his family’s apartment on Lexington on the Green in Raleigh on Aug. 15, 2012, when witnesses said a minivan pulled up and gunshots rang out. The teen was a rising sophomore at Millbrook High School.
Investigators said Cerefino Hernandez-Sierra was driving the vehicle, and his brother fired the gun.
“We’re completely destroyed,” the victim's father, Martin Garibay, told Superior Court Judge Paul Gessner during Wednesday’s hearing. “He had many plans in his life that were suddenly cut off because they had a gun.”
Garibay said his son worked to help support the family because his older son is disabled from an accident. His mother was also in court, but she was too distraught to speak.
Defense attorneys said the brothers had a tough family life marked by substance abuse, violence and a father who was in prison. Sixty-eight rounds of ammunition and gang paraphernalia were seized from their home.
Sharif Deveraux, attorney for Cerefino Hernandez-Sierra, apologized to the victim’s family on behalf of his client.
“He wanted to keep his brother out of the gang, but at 15 he didn’t know how,” Deveraux said.
After handing down the sentences, Gessner said, “Children executing children. How did we let it get to this point, and what do we do about it?”