On November 4, 2011, an Orange County judge sentenced Andrew Cervantes to 40 years to life for the murder of a 17-year old boy. Cervantes is one of the youngest murder defendants in Orange County to be tried and convicted as an adult. Cervantes was convicted after a jury trial for second degree murder (15 years to life) and street terrorism with enhancements for gang activity and use of a firearm (25 years to life). The jury discounted the defense theory that Cervantes acted in self-defense and had no specific intent to kill the victim.
A sentence of 40 years to life means that the defendant will serve a life sentence but has the opportunity to be paroled after he serves at least 40 years of his sentence. That would make Cervantes eligible for parole at the age of 55. It’s sad that a child will spend his entire life in prison, but as Deputy District Attorney Mark Geller stated, “If kids are going to keep killing kids, we’re going to prosecute them as adults.”