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Latin King gets life for gunning down three teens

MartYbarrwas sentenced life prisfor killing three Chicago teens 2009. | Provided

Martin Ybarra was sentenced to life in prison for killing three Chicago teens in 2009. | Provided

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Updated: July 15, 2014 6:11AM



A Latin King gang member was sentenced to life in prison Friday for gunning down three teenage boys as he aimed for a rival gang member outside Bowen High School on the Southeast Side.

Cook County Judge Steve Goebel told Martin Ybarra that it was impossible for him to be rehabilitated and that he “should never be free” for murdering the victims as if it were a “sport” on Feb. 20, 2009.

“You terrorized the streets of Chicago and outside Bowen High School, a place where kids should feel safe,” the judge said.

“To hear about the glee you had when killing them dampens my heart.”

Just six months before he shot 13-year-old Johnny Edwards and Bowen High students Kendrick Pitts, 17, and Raheem Washington, 15, Ybarra was acquitted for a 2005 murder near same location.

Ybarra was aiming for a member of the rival Black P Stone gang when his bullets struck the three boys near 87th Street and Exchange Avenue.

None of the boys was Ybarra’s intended target.

Ybarra initiated his bloody siege on foot and ended it with his body hanging outside a car near that intersection, spraying bullets from an Eastern European rifle.

“Run, n -----, run. Die n -----, die,” Ybarra screamed from the car, prosecutors said.

Goebel chastised 25-year-old Ybarra for using the racial slur during his “dastardly” and “evil” actions.

Johnny’s parents, Beverly Johnson and Raymond Brown, said they wanted Ybarra “to spend the rest of his life in jail, so that he can think of what he has done because he hates African-Americans.”

Johnny loved playing basketball with his baby brother and was always willing to lend a helping hand, his parents said in a victim impact statement read by prosecutors in court.

Raheem’s grandmother said her grandson had a smile that lit up a room.

Raheem had dreamed of going to college and eventually become a music producer, Zakkiyya Ahmad said.

Outside of court Ahmad and her husband, Rafiq, said they miss their grandson “very much.”

“I think justice has been served,” Rafiq Ahmad said of Ybarra’s sentence.

Ybarra’s mother said her son was a “scapegoat.” She also and said it was ridiculous that the judge called her son a racist because he has a black girlfriend.

“He didn’t have a fair trial,” Ybarra’s mother said.

Ybarra’s co-defendant, Geovanni Lopez, was acquitted in a bench trial before Goebel in May.

Email: rhussain@suntimes.com

Twitter: @rummanahussain



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