Man sentenced to over 55 years for homicide

A 38 year old drug dealer received the maximum sentence of over 55 years (668 months) in prison Friday, for the shooting death a Yakima man back in January.

Bobby Ray Zapien was convicted of 1st degree murder on Monday. Zapien shot and killed Luis Gonzales as a suspected informant while Gonzales was in his driveway, working on his car.

Below is a press release from the Yakima County Prosecutor's Office regarding the sentencing:

Bobby Ray "Buzz" Zapien was sentenced today to a term of 668 months in prison for the shooting death of Luis Gonzalez. The shooting occurred in the 1000 block of 26th Avenue in the City of Yakima on January 15, 2010. Following a two week trial, the jury returned a verdict of guilty to the charged crime of First Degree Murder. The jury also found that Zapien had used a firearm during the commission of the murder.

During the sentencing hearing the Court heard from friends and family members regarding the impact of the murder. Deputy Prosecutor Alvin Guzman, who tried the case for the State, asked the court to impose the top of the standard range due to Zapien's lengthy criminal history; the impact on the family; lack of remorse; and the short period of time between Zapien's most recent release from prison and the murder.

The sentencing judge noted the casual nature in which the murder was committed, described as akin to going to the grocery store; the impact the murder had on the family and friends of Luis Gonzalez; and Zapien's lengthy criminal history as a basis for a sentence at the top of the sentencing range.


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