Robert Jacob Montez was recently sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to the 2009 murder of a 16-year-old during a gang-related drive-by shooting.
The Aug. 9, 2009, shooting at the entrance to a subdivision at the intersection of Harmony Church Road and Thousand Oaks Drive off Gillsville Highway left 16-year-old Gainesville resident Juan Gomez dead. Three other teenagers were also shot and critically injured during the confrontation between two rival gangs.
Nagan Le, Francisco Amaya and Pedro Saucedo, all either 16 or 17 years old at the time of the shooting, recovered from the gunshots they received.
Montez, 21, known as "Soldier," pleaded guilty Nov. 30 to murder, aggravated assault, aggravated battery and other counts related to the shooting. He was sentenced by Superior Court Judge Bonnie Oliver to life in prison with a minimum mandatory sentence of 30 years before the possibility of parole, Hall County District Attorney Lee Darragh said.
Montez had previously pleaded not guilty after being indicted in August 2009.
Gomez was shot when he and members of his La Onda 5 street gang entered into rival gang SUR-13's territory. The four gang members in a Nissan Sentra exchanged words with three men in a Dodge Neon before multiple shots were fired by Montez from a stolen automatic 9 mm handgun.
Police said Montez and Gomez were both leaders of their respective gangs.
Prior to the plea, prosecutors had filed for consideration of the death penalty had the case gone to trial.
"The death penalty had been filed for in the case, but (Montez's) opportunity to enter a plea of guilty for a life sentence has always been available until any motions were to be heard and he decided to enter his plea prior to the motions that were scheduled," Darragh said.
The case against a co-defendant, Miguel Garcia, remains open. The 18-year-old, known by his street name "Smiley," faces counts of party to murder and party to aggravated assault. Police identified him as the driver when the shooting occurred.
Garcia, originally from Mexico, was in the country illegally.