Jun. 23 — Estevan Montoya confirmed no response in state District Courtroom on Wednesday when a choose gave him the utmost sentence of life in jail for the August 2020 dying of Santa Fe Excessive Faculty basketball star Fedonta “JB” White.
Montoya, 18, who fatally shot White at a late-night home occasion in Chupadero, was convicted final month on a depend of first-degree homicide and different costs. They are going to be eligible for a password after at the least 30 years of incarceration. As a result of he was a juvenile on the time of the crime, he couldn’t be sentenced to life with no password.
His two-week trial in Could – which included the testimony of a number of teenagers and younger adults who witnessed the slaying – captured the eye of a group shocked by the high-profile slaying of a beloved teen who appeared to be headed for a vibrant future.
White had graduated from highschool a 12 months early and was set to play on the College of New Mexico males’s basketball group in fall 2020.
“Estevan Montoya would not deserve freedom,” White’s grandmother, Jude Voss, mentioned in a press release learn by prosecutors at Wednesday’s listening to. “He selected this path. He selected to take a loaded gun to a celebration, pull the set off and finish my boy’s life.”
Earlier than he was sentenced by District Choose T. Glenn Ellington, Montoya apologized to the White’s household. He additionally apologized to the District Legal professional’s Workplace, his protection group, Ellington and the handfuls of younger individuals who attended the Chupadero occasion the place he shot White after the 2 had engaged in a short struggle.
“I want the state of affairs might have been completely different,” Montoya mentioned, studying from a ready assertion, “however it doesn’t matter what I say, it doesn’t matter what I do, I notice I can’t change what occurred that night time.”
In the beginning of the listening to, Montoya’s protection attorneys lambasted the courtroom’s pre-sentencing investigation report and requested the choose to order additional psychological analysis of Montoya earlier than his sentencing.
Ellington declined the request.
A number of of White’s relations spoke to the courtroom or had a prosecutor learn a press release detailing how the teenager’s dying has affected them over the past 22 months.
“JB bought a pleasure out of creating individuals comfortable,” White’s aunt Kaila Boston mentioned in a press release. “He was the person who at all times needed to be good to everyone.”
Zack Cole, White’s cousin by marriage and his basketball coach for 3 years, stood earlier than the courtroom and recounted the months by which White was being recruited by a number of Division I faculty basketball packages and the reward heaped upon him by recruiters.
“4 coaches advised me, ‘You understand you are teaching a professional basketball participant proper?’ I replied ‘no,’ ‘Cole mentioned. “A number of coaches replied to me by saying, ‘Effectively that is what one seems to be like. He is a star.’ “
White’s sister, Chantel Esquibel, remembered how excited her brother was to be an uncle and lamented the truth that her son wouldn’t get to “bear in mind his uncle JB.”
“My brother did not should cross the best way he did,” Esquibel mentioned. “He did not should be as scared as he was the night time he handed. He did not should beg for his life the best way that he did, and as an older sister that hurts me so dangerous as a result of I wasn’t there to guard him. “
White’s cousin Adrienne Cole mentioned she questioned which path Montoya would have taken if they’d the identical assist system as White – and that his household could be left to surprise as properly.
“His life is not over,” she mentioned of Montoya. “The defendant has his life. His household can watch him develop, they will hear his voice [and] they get to go to him. Our household won’t ever get any of these alternatives. “
White’s relations urged Ellington to impose the utmost sentence.
Earlier than doing so, Ellington spoke in regards to the context by which White’s dying occurred, with an increase in youth gang exercise and gun violence, points within the Santa Fe group they bought to have “type of misplaced focus” because of the high-profile nature of the case.
“The gangs that contain younger boys are somewhat bit completely different,” the choose mentioned. “They search what all of us search in life. They wish to be accepted. They wish to be cherished … they usually haven’t got that within the regular ways in which individuals do now.”
Ellington mentioned becoming a member of a gang could possibly be a “life-changing occasion,” and he careworn the function of youth gang violence and the rise in shootings all through Santa Fe as key components surrounding White’s dying.
Montoya was affiliated with a gaggle referred to as the South Aspect Goons, which has been characterised as a gang. Nonetheless, his pal Kane Flores contended the group will not be a gang.
“The South Aspect Goons, we’re not a gang. We’re not a gang related to anybody else,” they mentioned in an interview after the proceedings. “We make music, and to at the present time we frequently make music every single day, and it is one thing we’re obsessed with.”
Flores mentioned he’s anxious about how Montoya will fare in jail and stays offended over the slaying of their mutual pal, Ivan Armando “Mando” Perez, a case that continues to be unresolved.
Perez died simply weeks earlier than Montoya was accused of killing White.
“It angers me that no one talks about him,” Flores mentioned. “… Estevan would by no means have had a gun if Ivan by no means bought killed.”
Ellington lamented the truth that a number of witnesses refused to testify in a homicide case towards a teen accused in Perez’s deadly taking pictures, forcing prosecutors to dismiss the costs.
Voss mentioned after the listening to she was “relieved” in regards to the final result of Montoya’s case however mentioned it would not deliver again the grandson she had raised.
“It’ll put some closure for me, however I am nonetheless endlessly modified,” Voss mentioned. “I am nonetheless damaged, however I am so glad that is over with.”