CHICAGO (CBS) — After her original life sentence was ruled unconstitutional, a woman was sentenced to 63 years in prison Friday for killing two rival gang members in 1992, when she was 15 years old.
Jacqueline Montanez was convicted of fatally shooting 22-year-old Hector Reyes and 21-year-old Jimmy Cruz, and she was only 16 when she was sentenced to life in prison.
However, in 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled mandatory life sentences for juvenile defendants unconstitutional, sending her case back to a Cook County judge for a new sentencing hearing.
On Friday, Judge Alfredo Maldonado sentenced her to 63 years in prison, with credit for more than 23 years she already has served, meaning she could be free in less than 8 years with credit for good behavior.
Cruz’s brother, Jose, said that means justice was not served.
“It’s heart-breaking knowing that she’s going to come out and once again enjoy her life. She’s going to enjoy her life. My brother can’t. Hector Reyes can’t,” he said.
Montanez’s sister, Laticia Lorenza, said society has made her sister out to be a monster, but Lorenza said her sister is a product of her environment.
“She couldn’t get what she needed at home, and she looked for it in the streets, and that’s all she knew was gang-banging and selling drugs, and that’s all we did. That’s all we knew how to do,” she said.
Jose Cruz said nothing changes the fact his brother is gone.
“He was our baby brother. He was taken away, and it’s torn all of us apart. We don’t do anything anymore. It’s heart-breaking,” he said.
Lorenza said her sister has learned from her mistakes.
“As I see it, she’s totally different now. She’s more remorseful. I can see that. It really hurts her. If she could trade places with the victims, she would,” she said. “She can’t take it back. Nobody can go back in time.”
Jose Cruz said he doesn’t believe Montanez is sorry for what she did.
“It’s all fake. It’s all for the cameras. It’s all for the judge. It’s all for the courts. So it gives her the opportunity, like they said, well she has done good by others. Well she hasn’t done good by my brother or Hector Reyes,” he said.