Grand Junction killer gets 102 years
Grand Junction Correspondent
Vail, CO Colorado
GRAND JUNCTION, Colorado ” Lonnie Ray Herrera was sentenced to 102 years in prison Thursday for shooting his 23-year-old girlfriend, Anna Macias, in the neck on March 30, killing her and her unborn child.
Herrera, who will be 40 later this year, could be up for parole when he’s 97 years old if he is a model prisoner. But Mesa County Chief Deputy District Attorney Dan Rubinstein, who prosecuted Herrera, said Thursday Herrera’s first realistic chance at parole won’t come until Herrera is 105.
“The number one goal was to lock him up for the rest of his life,” Rubinstein said. Along with that goal was to keep Macias’ daughter, who witnessed the shooting, from having to testify in a jury trial, which is why Herrera and the court decided on a plea agreement for 102 years in the state penitentiary.
Before Herrera went to jail for the next century, Macias’ mother, Angie Rodriguez, had some parting words for the man who took her daughter and unborn grandchild’s lives.
“I’d just like to tell this killer that I hope he goes to prison and pays for what he did,” Rodriguez said in front of the judge. “I hope he gets paralyzed like he did to her.”
Macias’ family and friends lined the benches in the courtroom and wore shirts bearing the dead woman’s picture. A young boy wore a shirt with the lower-case letters “r-i-p” emblazoned on his collar.
Macias’ older brother, Larry Romaro, said he was glad the sentencing was over.
“It’s in God’s hands now ” nothing’s going to bring her back,” he said.
Macias’ sister-in-law, Regina Vigio, said the family was satisfied with Herrera’s jail term. She said the family has been close before and after the trial, and that one day she’ll tell Macias’ youngest children about their mom.
“She was always smiling,” Vigio said, tearing up.
Back in the courtroom, Herrera gathered a much smaller group of family members. His mother also spoke at the sentencing, saying “I love my son and I always will.”
Judge Brian Flynn handed down Herrera’s sentence for second-degree murder and a weapons charge with little sympathy for the defendant.
“This is a case that I think involves a crime of horrific magnitude,” Flynn said. “All of this occurred really for no reason.”