The second of three men accused of killing a teenager in Metairie last year pleaded guilty this week.
Valentin Martinez, 19, was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison for the slaying of Tyris James, 17, on the afternoon of Jan. 30, 2018, though he will be eligible for parole after 25 years because he was 17 at the time of the killing.
He had been charged with first-degree murder but pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in a deal with prosecutors.
Judge Scott Schlegel of 24th Judicial District Court also sentenced Martinez to 25 years for conspiracy to commit armed robbery and 25 years for obstruction of justice, running those sentences concurrently with the life term for the killing.
Martinez’s plea followed that of Angelo Holmes Jr., 23, four days earlier. Holmes received a 10-year sentence after pleading guilty to being an accessory after the fact to first-degree murder. He also pleaded guilty to possessing a handgun on that day despite being prohibited from having a firearm because of a previous conviction.
Co-defendant Chicobi Smith is scheduled to stand trial on June 24.
According to authorities, James was shot in the head during an argument that erupted inside a car. Witnesses saw his body pushed from that vehicle and left near a bag of marijuana in the 2300 block of North Arnoult Road, which is between West Napoleon Avenue and Interstate 10 and is flanked by large apartment complexes.
“He was my heart, my best friend,” James’ older brother, Tyren James, said after the sentencing.
James said the confessions and sentences of those involved in the killing of his brother don’t provide much solace because there is no way to bring him back.
“It eats at you, knowing that the youngest child, the one who always wanted to be like you, is gone,” he said.