Lamar Roberts, who pleaded guilty to charges of killing a seven-year-old girl while acting out moves from Mortal Kombat, was sentenced to 36 years in prison and five months probation on Friday in Colorado.
Roberts, who was 17 at the time of the incident and is 18 now, was tried as an adult and faced 16 to 48 years in prison. He pleaded guilty in December to charges of child abuse resulting in death for the December 2007 death of seven-year-old Zoe Garcia, the step-sister of his girlfriend Heather Trujillo. Roberts and Trujillo, according to Colorado news station 9News, were acting out moves from Mortal Kombat on the girl, and were "kicking and punching [Garcia] until she died."
"I apologize to the family, and I do agree I do deserve to get what I get," Roberts said at the sentencing hearing. "But I would never intentionally want this to happen, and it's not who I am, I'm not a monster and I'm truly sorry for what happened."
Roberts' supporters pleaded to the judge for leniency, saying that a lifetime of hardship spent caring for a negligent mother, suffering from severe ADHD and dealing with alcoholism had proven too much for the teenager. "I've been a part of Lamar's life since he was four years old, and the child I know is loving, devoted and extremely loyal," one of Roberts' relatives said. Ultimately the judge took all this account, but decided that 36 years was the appropriate punishment for Roberts, who inflicted the majority of the injuries that led to Garcia's death.
Garcia's family wanted the maximum penalty for Roberts. "Please consider that she will never have a life again," Dana Trujillo, Zoe Garcia's mother, pleaded to the judge at the hearing. "I believe he's a monster, to kill any little kid," added Garcia's grandmother. "I'll never see my grandaughter again."
Heather Trujillo, who pleaded guilty to negligently causing death through child abuse, had already been sentenced and will serve six years in a youthful offenders program.
Though the prosecution and media were quick to tag the Mortal Kombat angle onto this incident, the real tragedy seems to be that, regardless of any videogame's involvement in all this, Zoe Garcia's life was always deeply troubled. Zoe's mother, Dana Trujillo herself, was arrested on an old child abuse warrant from New Mexico. Social service records show multiple complaints of abuse toward Zoe in multiple states, making clear that this was an extremely dysfunctional family to begin with.
[Via What They Play]