A Miami man must serve 60 years in prison for gunning down a Liberty City couple in front of their 10-year-old daughter in 2006, a judge ruled Thursday.
A jury in August convicted Benito Santiago, 23, on two counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of Grace Armstrong, 27, and Adrian Johnson, 28. Their daughter, now 16, identified Santiago as the killer because of the distinct cross tattoos on each cheek.
"Her last moments with her parents came as they lay dying from the shots you fired," Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Ellen Sue Venzer told Santiago. "You ripped away her parents, her family."
Santiago, 17 at the time of the crime, was the first person in Miami-Dade sentenced for first-degree murder after the U.S. Supreme Court barred mandatory life without the possibility of parole sentences for juveniles in homicide cases. The decision did not strike down the possibility of a life term, but ruled that judges must at least consider the young age of a defendant before meting out a sentence.
Venzer sentenced Santiago to two consecutive 30-year counts.