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  • Finally, some justice.

    Convicted cop-slayer gets life in prison, accomplices get 26 years each.

    The normally hard-charging Alameda County sheriff sobbed in court Wednesday after the widow and sisters of a slain deputy condemned the man convicted of killing their loved one during a botched robbery at a Dublin steak house.

    Sheriff Charles Plummer and others labeled Ruben Eliceo Vasquez, 28, of Modesto "cowardly," a "thug" and "trash" for shooting Deputy John Monego outside the Outback Steakhouse. Then, a judge sentenced Vasquez to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

    In a rare display of emotion, Plummer broke down in tears and dabbed at his eyes with a tissue as he recounted from the witness stand how the slaying had devastated him and his department.

    Plummer then urged Superior Court Judge Alfred Delucchi to hand down the stiffest possible sentence so that Vasquez could live out the rest of his "rotten, unproductive life" behind bars.

    Delucchi did just that in a Hayward courtroom packed with sheriff's deputies, jurors from the trial and relatives of Monego.

    Monego, 33, of Brentwood was shot five times on Dec. 11, 1998, while acting as backup for a deputy who thought she was responding to a routine 911 hang-up call at the restaurant when she was taken hostage by the men, stripped of her weapon and herded to the back of the restaurant with 30 employees and customers, authorities said.

    Two other defendants, Miguel Galindo Sifuentes, 23, and Hai Minh Le, 24, both of Turlock, were sentenced in April to 26 years to life in prison. All three were convicted of first-degree murder, but the jury's decision not to return a death-penalty verdict against Vasquez angered Monego's friends and relatives.

    Plummer called it a "dirty shame" that Vasquez would not be executed. Monego's slaying was one of the "most cowardly and unforgiving acts" he had seen in five decades of law enforcement, the sheriff said.

    Relatives derided Vasquez for what they called his many excuses, including what defense attorney Bill Cole said was a difficult upbringing in a family torn by war and violence in his native El Salvador.

    Holding a picture of her husband dressed in a tuxedo at their wedding, Tammy Monego, a California Highway Patrol officer, called Vasquez a "cold- blooded killer" who tried to elicit sympathy with stories of "abuse by guerrillas" and reporting that he "cried at 'Bambi.' "

    "The only remorse you feel is that you were caught," she said. "Now, you and your family will have to suffer the consequences."

    Her son, Dominic, who is now 6 years old, has asked, "Mom, why didn't the bad guy give Daddy a chance to fight back?" she said.

    Tammy Monego said her son is the only link she has to her husband. "Dominic knows what happened to his dad," she told reporters after the hearing. "He thinks his dad is a hero."

    Addressing Vasquez, Mary Ellen Biesecker, a sister of Monego, said, "What right do you have to live? You are going to spend the rest of your useless life rotting in jail."

    Vasquez, clad in a red jail jumpsuit and his hands shackled at the waist, mostly looked down at the defense table as Monego's relatives excoriated him. He read a brief statement apologizing for "the devastation I've caused." The thought of what he did "makes me sick to my stomach and weighs heavily on my conscience," Vasquez said.

    Although he professed remorse, a probation report released Wednesday said Vasquez spoke "derogatorily of Officer Monego" in a tape-recorded conversation with a relative from jail shortly after his arrest.

  • #2
    Awwww the wittle gangbanger murdering bastard had a wough wittle childhood. I'm all broken about it. Screw him and his POS lawyer. Lots of people had rough lives in the third world and made themselves into outstanding people. This SOB needs to die. Murder of a peace officer should carry a mandatory death penalty; remove the jury from the equation, since their job should be only to decide guilt or innocence.
    Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. - Ronald Reagan

    I don't think It'll happen in the US because we don't trust our government. We are a country of skeptics, raised by skeptics, founded by skeptics. - Amaroq

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    • #3
      My sincere condolences to the Monego family and to the department who mourns him. I hope that they are somehow able to find peace and closure (they never get "over" it...that doesn't happen) and can move on with their lives now that the case is behind them. The death of a peace officer is one of the saddest that there is, especially with such devastating violence.
      "Americans don't want a mentally unstable president; he might start a war or something." - Bill Maher

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