The victim was believed to be a rival gang member, but was not.
Rockville, Md (KM)> A stiff sentence was handed down to a teenage boy who was involved in a murder nearly two years ago. Juan Guitierrez-Vasquez, 17, was given life with all but 40 years suspended for the murder of Christian Villagran-Morales, 18, in a Gaithersburg park in June, 2016. Guitierrez-Vasquez was a member of MS 13.
“40 year behind bars is a long time to think about the crime that he’s committed. But not nearly as long as the lifetime of sorrow that Berta, the mom of Christian Villagran-Morales, has to think about the loss of her son,” says Ramon Korionoff, a spokesman for the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’;s Office.
Prosecutors say Villagran-Morales was not a gang member, but one day flashed some gang signs at a group of young men who were part of MS 13. They felt he was a rival gang member The young men reported it to MS 13 hierarchy, which gave the go-ahead to murder Villagran Morales.
Police say one of the co-defendants, Vanessa Alvarado, lured Villagran-Morales into Malcolm King Park in June, 2016, promising him sex and marijuana. When he got into the park, Guitierrez-Vasquez held Villagran-Morales down while four other MKS 13 members took part in stabbing him. The victim was stabbed more than 150 times, prosecutors say.
Alvarado was sentenced in May, 2017 to 40 years in prison.
“As a juvenile offender charged as an adult, this is an important case to send a very strong message out to the public that gang members cannot recruit young people to do their bidding,.” says Korionoff.
In speaking with reporters, Korionoff urged young people not to give into the temptation of joining a gang like MS 13. “Please: don’t let peer pressure turn you into a weapon for this gang,” he said.
By Kevin McManus