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Killers of reformed man are sentenced

Sentences have been handed down to the two men convicted of killing a former gang member in a 2015 drive-by shooting.

At the Madera County Superior Court, Judge Dale J. Blea sentenced Kevin Rendon, 20, to 21 years in prison for the murder of Fabian Hernandez, 35, of Madera. The getaway driver in the killing, Oscar Reyes-Garcia, 21, was sentenced to 25 years to life. At the sentencing, Rendon remained silent. Garcia, however, wept openly as he read a letter of apology to the family of the victim, in which he expressed his regrets for his actions.

“Honestly, I think (Rendon) got off easy,” said Crystal Ruiz, Hernandez’s sister. “Garcia felt our pain.”

Reyes and Rendon had pleaded guilty for their roles in the murder of Fabian Hernandez, 35, of Madera, which occurred on June 18, 2015, at his home home on 1110 Lacreta Ave. The victim’s family has stated that Hernandez was seated on the coach, texting a friend when he was killed. Hernandez’s mother, daughter, and aunt and uncle were in the house with him when the shooting occurred.

Though he had previously been a gang member, Hernandez, according to Pastor Tim Echevarria of the New Harvest Christian Fellowship church, had given up that way of life, and had begun reaching out to other gang members.

“He gave his life to the Lord, and he left all that behind,” Echevarria said. “He really, radically got saved by changing his whole life.”

Echevarria is also a chaplain for the Madera Police Department.

It took nearly a year for Madera Police detectives to solve the case, which initially had few leads. On May 27, however, the police were able to arrest Rendon for the shooting.

Garcia, who was already in the Madera County Jail for another shooting which took place just days later, was charged as well. Garcia has also pleaded guilty to the second shooting, along with suspect Victor Sanchez, 17, of Madera. The victim in this second incident was left paralyzed from the neck down. Sanchez, who pleaded guilty to driving for Garcia, has been ordered to return to court on Dec. 12 to determine if his sentencing will be conducted by the juvenile or superior court.

Last week, Hernandez’s family was able to make statements for the judge’s consideration in sentencing.

“He was a changed man who went to church,” Hernandez’s niece, Angela Ruiz said at the hearing. “He is the one who got everyone going to church, and that’s how I’m going to remember him.”

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