On a hot summer night in 2015, Gabriel Verdugo gunned down Elvis Garcia-Gonzales in a Bakersfield bar.
On Tuesday, one of his sisters asked a Kern County judge to ensure his killer never again sees the outside of a prison. She said her brother never had a fair chance, so neither should Verdugo.
"Please do not let him out," Daisy Marina Almazan asked the court.
Given the length of time Verdugo, 26, faces behind bars, Almazan's wish could become a reality.
Judge Kenneth C. Twisselman II sentenced Verdugo on Tuesday to a total of 50 years to life in prison. He imposed a sentence of 25 years to life for Verdugo's first-degree murder conviction, plus an additional 25 years to life for a gun enhancement.
Before imposing sentence, Twisselman noted Verdugo was on probation at the time of the killing, and has a lengthy criminal record stretching back to 2005. One of his prior cases, according to court records, resulted in him pleading no contest to a felony charge of drug possession for sale in exchange for the dismissal of robbery and assault charges.
"There's just an ongoing, steady pattern of criminality," the judge said.
Verdugo was convicted in November of gunning down 30-year-old Garcia-Gonzalez at the El Escorpion Bar on South Chester Avenue. Deputies said the two were arguing at the bar Aug. 8, 2015, when Verdugo pulled a gun and fired once, killing Garcia-Gonzalez.
Multiple people witnessed the shooting.
After fleeing the bar, Verdugo eluded authorities for nearly two years, but was tracked down in June in Mexicali, Mexico. He was taken into custody and transported back to Kern County.
Garcia-Gonzalez served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and later worked as a Disabled Veteran's Outreach Program Specialist at the Employment Development Department in Bakersfield and Porterville, according to prosecutors.
Jackie Garcia-Gonzalez, another sister of Elvis Garcia-Gonzalez, told the court she's a psychology major, but over the past two years hasn't been able to help her family or herself cope with her brother's death.
"(Verdugo) should never be able to spend time with his family as we'll never see my brother alive again," she said.