MADERA – Christopher Norris, 25, of Mariposa, was sentenced to life in prison for murder on Friday, July 19.
In September, 2011, a Madera County Superior Court jury found Norris guilty of the first degree murder of Alonso Herrera.
The jury also found the special circumstance that Norris committed the murder when he was an active gang member, and that Norris’s actions occurred to further the criminal activities of the gang.
The jury also found that Norris personally discharged the firearm that caused the death of Mr. Herrera.
The murder occurred on June 28, 2010, near the intersection of C Street, 2nd Street, and Central Street in the City of Madera. Norris walked up to Mr. Herrera and shot him several times at close range.
Herrera, who was unarmed at the time, was 24 years old and from Mexico. Evidence at trial showed that Norris intended to shoot a rival gang member, but shot Herrera by mistake.
On Friday, the Superior Court sentenced Norris to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Also, because Norris used a firearm in the commission of Herrera’s murder, he was sentenced to an additional and consecutive term of 25-years-to-life under the “Use a gun and you’re done” statute.
“This was a senseless murder and demonstrates how all of society is impacted by gang violence,” said District Attorney Michael Keitz. “Mr. Norris’ life sentence is a strong message for gang members and their associates; if you participate in a gang or their activities, if you harm others, or if you use guns to commit your crimes, you will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.