Patrick Luangrath, who pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in the shooting death of San Diego police officer Christopher Wilson, has been sentenced to 21 years in prison. NBC 7's Elena Gomez reports.
Patrick Luangrath, who pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in the shooting death of San Diego police officer Christopher Wilson, was sentenced to 21 years in prison Tuesday.
Luangrath and Melissa Ortiz were charged with murder, attempted murder and other felonies for their roles in the October 2010 parole sweep that ended in the veteran officer’s death.
At the sentencing hearing, a San Diego police officer whose locker was near Wilson's spoke about the slain cop.
"When did you ever put your life on the line for someone you didn't know," Officer Travis Whipple asked the defendant. "It sounds harsh but it's meant to be. When you live for yourself or for money you live a life not worth living. At the end of your life when you look back what will stand out?"
Luangrath was sentenced to another 16 months for an unrelated crime.
The charges fall under the same theory that resulted in the conviction of Alex Charfauros last month – that the defendants knowingly aided the two people who were accused of the actual shooting Holim Lee and Lucky Xayasene. Investigators said Lee and Xayasene killed themselves before their capture by police.
In August, jurors found that Charfauros failed to warn police of the weapons and ammunition awaiting them inside the Bay Terraces apartment.
Ortiz admitted to investigators during a videotaped interrogation that she turned out a bedroom light that gave Lee and Xayasene the advantage in the standoff with police.
Questioned by police after the shooting, Luangrath told them he and Ortiz stopped by the apartment that night to talk with Xayasene.
Luangrath and Ortiz told police they hid in the bedroom closet when the gun battle broke out.
“I’m in the closet laying down and in the next room I’m hearing gunshots,” Luangrath said in the police interrogation video.
However investigators say the closet was too small and too crowded to hold the couple.
Video taken inside the apartment before the shooting shows Luangrath in the apartment holding a handgun and an ammunition clip.
Wilson, 50, died from a gunshot wound to the head. An investigation revealed the fatal shot was fired by Lee or Xayasene who had barricaded themselves in a bedroom of the apartment on South Meadowbrook Drive.
San Diego Police were providing backup for probation officers on Oct. 27. 2010 as they searched for Lee, a dangerous parole violator.
Charfauros will be sentenced later this year. He faces 25 years to life in prison for Wilson's death, and 7 years to life for the attempted murder of the other four officers present during the shooting -- totaling a maximum of 53 years.