Vialpando family reacts to mistaken identity murder sentencing - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Vialpando family reacts to mistaken identity murder sentencing

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A Pueblo man has pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in a case of mistaken identity.

In a plea agreement, a judge sentenced 24-year-old Leo Montoya to 23 years in prison and five years parole on Wednesday afternoon.

He was charged in the murder two years ago of 20-year-old Isaiah Vialpando, who was shot and killed in broad daylight in his silver BMW in downtown Pueblo. 

Police believe Montoya was actually trying to kill someone else who drove a similar vehicle.

This came as little relief to the family who will never get their son back.

"We're not happy, we're actually angry with the sentence," Robert Cordova, Isaiah's father said.

An emotional day for the family of Isaiah Vialpando, it was the end of a two year fight for justice.

"It wasn't severe enough of a punishment of a sentence that we wanted it to be and it should have been," Cordova said.

A judge sentenced Montoya to 23 years behind bars for shooting and killing Isaiah in a case of mistaken identity.

"We couldn't believe that it was just because of his vehicle and he resembled a gang member and my son that isn't in any gangs, gets shot to death in downtown right by the Riverwalk, it angers us and angers us to no end," he said.

His father, Robert Cordova, speaks for the family when he says forgiveness is out of the question.

"He could be eligible for parole in five or six years, that's peanuts, my son's dead and we got the life sentence, he didn't get the life sentence, all of our family has to deal with this every single day," he said.

Montoya sat emotionless in his wheelchair, seemingly lacking remorse and keeping his head down during the family's final statements to the judge on Wednesday.

"To take someone's life, to take someone that's loved, to lose someone and act like it's nothing, life is very valuable, to see that is really heartbreaking, it's just horrible," Greg Marquez, Isaiah's second cousin said.

Isaiah would have been 22, he would have graduated from CSU Pueblo, pursuing his dream of becoming a music producer. He would have continued to play mariachi and watch the Denver Broncos.

Instead though, today, his family is forced to re-live his loss all over again and is working toward closing this heartbreaking chapter.

"It's hard to see the family but I know our family is so close, but we'll pull together and we will get through this," Marquez said.

Isaiah's family hopes his memory will live on through a traffic sign in the heart of Downtown Pueblo where he was killed near 2nd and Court Street.

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