Two men received 28-year prison sentences Monday after admitting that they robbed and shot a man last year in Metairie, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.
Christian Hernandez, 21, and Kevin Rivas, 23, each pleaded guilty to charges of armed robbery and attempted second-degree murder in 24th Judicial District Court in Gretna. They will get credit for the time they’ve spent behind bars since their March 10, 2014, arrests.
Judge June Darensburg sentenced Hernandez, of Metairie, and Rivas, of Kenner, after victim Louis Alvarado came to court in a wheelchair and delivered a statement.
An armed robbery charge is pending against a third defendant in the case, Leonardo Paredes Morales, 22, of Metairie. In April, records show, prosecutors offered Paredes 15 years in prison in exchange for a guilty plea.
According to prosecutors, Hernandez and Rivas approached Alvarado the night of March 8, 2014, as the victim was walking in the 1400 block of Orpheum Avenue, along the 17th Street Canal and around the corner from his apartment. Wearing masks and brandishing a revolver, Hernandez and Rivas ordered Alvarado to hand over his belongings.
But Alvarado refused and began running away. One of the pair shot Alvarado in the back. They then took his belongings and escaped in Rivas’ white Chevrolet Cavalier.
Two days later, in St. John the Baptist Parish, sheriff’s deputies investigated reports of a pair of armed robberies carried out by two men in masks and a white car. One of the robbery victims noted the car’s license plate, and St. John deputies alerted authorities in neighboring Kenner.
Kenner police stopped the white Cavalier as it headed east on Interstate 10 and arrested Hernandez, Rivas and Paredes. Police said they discovered a .22-caliber revolver in the vehicle.
The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office said Hernandez and Rivas both confessed to participating in the shooting and robbery of Alvarado but each said the other pulled the trigger. Paredes confessed to driving the Cavalier before and after the shooting, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Police initially jailed Hernandez, Rivas and Paredes in St. John Parish, and charges are still pending there. While Jefferson deputies at one point said they were investigating whether the three men were involved in as many as four armed robberies around the parish, District Attorney Paul Connick’s office charged Hernandez, Rivas and Paredes only in the incident involving Alvarado.
A news report shortly after the shooting described Alvarado as a 30-year-old husband and father of two sons.
In Louisiana, armed robbery convictions can carry up to 99 years in prison. Attempted second-degree murder convictions carry a maximum of 50 years in prison.
Darensburg gave Hernandez and Rivas 23 years in prison for the armed robbery and an extra five years because the crime involved a gun. She also ordered them to simultaneously serve 28-year sentences for the attempted murder of Alvarado.