EVERETT — Alexander Sandoval-Ortiz spent 15 hours one day last year hunting down the man he said he hoped to kill.
He’ll now have a 35-year prison sentence to reflect on the consequences of following through on his plan.
The punishment — the maximum under state sentencing guidelines — reflected the senseless, premeditated nature of the killing, Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Michael Downes said.
The judge told Sandoval-Ortiz, 35, that the evidence was clear he committed first-degree murder “for no other reason than you were in a bad mood.”
Carlos Lara-Ramos, 28, was shot to death June 16, 2015, outside the Arterra Apartments along W. Casino Road in Everett. The defendant had been talking about harming the victim all day. He spotted the man’s truck there, lingered nearby for more than an hour, and then fatally shot him after he stepped into the parking lot.
The killing was motivated by a toxic mix of jealousy over an ex-girlfriend’s decision to move on without Sandoval-Ortiz, and the defendant’s embarrassment over her having duped him earlier into believing she’d somehow been in peril, jurors were told.
At trial, Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Halley Hupp played a recording of a 911 call that documented the victim’s last words.
Lara-Ramos told an emergency dispatcher there was a man pointing a gun at him. He was on the phone when he was shot in the chest. The recording captured the dying man’s groans and gasps as well as the screams of witnesses.
Defense attorney Caroline Mann had argued that the shooting was an accident, that the gun went off during a shoving match between the two men. Her client didn’t plan to kill Lara-Ramos, Mann said, and she asked Downes to consider a sentence nearer the mandatory minimum in this case, or about 25 years.
Hupp pointed to testimony that highlighted how many opportunities the defendant had to take another path during the 15 hours between the time he first said he was going to kill Lara-Ramos and when he pulled the trigger.
At one point, a friend of the defendant urged him to think about what he was considering. Sandoval-Ortiz wasn’t dissuaded. “He had a mission and he carried it out,” the prosecutor said.
Downes said the evidence was clear that the shooting was intentional.
The judge looked Sandoval-Ortiz in the eyes and told him he’d shot Lara-Ramos “right in the center of the chest. You executed him.”
Sandoval-Ortiz, who is not legally in the U.S., also was convicted of possession of a stolen handgun and being an alien in possession of a firearm.
He was further barred from guns because of earlier felony convictions in California.
Sandoval-Ortiz speaks English but was provided a court-certified interpreter during Wednesday’s hearing.
He declined an opportunity to say anything before Downes announced his sentence.
The family of Lara-Ramos was in the courtroom. They also declined an opportunity to speak.
Scott North: 425-339-3431; firstname.lastname@example.org.