Rogelio Soto Jr.'s youth, if he ever had one at all, ended at 16. In February 2009, a gang fight broke out at Wichita's Southeast High School during the lunch hour, according to an article in the Wichita Eagle. Kids from rival gangs piled into two separate cars and tore off on a high-speed car chase. When one of the drivers lost control of his car, a 16-year-old girl named Yadira Villa tried to exit as it slowed. But just as she opened the car door, the car sped up. The force of the door knocked her down, and she died underneath the car's wheels.
Soto -- then 16 -- was a passenger in the car chasing the one that took Villa's life. It wouldn't be the last time he helped cause someone's death in the name of his gang.
A month later, Soto went drinking with a group of boys at the apartment
of another teen named Arturo Moreno. But the gathering devolved
when Soto sprung on Moreno and stabbed him more than 70 times with a
knife. Moreno bled to death.
The crime, which was fueled by a rivalry between the gangs of
the two young men, was declared by a judge Tuesday to be especially
heinous, reported the Wichita
Eagle. Soto was prosecuted as an adult for Moreno's murder.
Soto was sentenced to life in prison. For 50 of those years, he'll be ineligible for parole. Usually, a life sentence makes you eligible for parole consideration after 25 years. But by the time he's even eligible for parole, Soto will be 68 years old.
Two of Soto's fellow gangbangers were also convicted in the murder. Giovanni Gonzalez was sentenced last year to 13 years in prison for second-degree murder, and Luis Navarrette-Pacheco pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, and aiding a felon.