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Man gets 45 years for killing father as he walked with sons

Daniel Huizar

Daniel Huizar

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Updated: July 24, 2012 9:48AM

A man who shot and killed a father four years ago as he walked his boys into a Joliet drug store to get school supplies was sentenced to 45 years in prison Friday.

The sentence Will County Judge Amy Bertani-Tomczak handed down to 22-year-old Daniel Huizar of Joliet was the minimum prosecutors said he faced. She said Huizar has no criminal history, and she believes he can be rehabilitated.

The judge also rejected arguments from defense attorney Ken Zelazo, who said Huizar shouldn’t face an enhanced sentence for shooting a gun. Without it, Zelazo said, Huizar would have faced a minimum of 20 years.

Assistant State’s Attorney Dan Walsh called the argument “nonsense.”

Huizar was found guilty of first-degree murder and aggravated discharge of a firearm during a bench trial in March 2011. Police said gang members visited Huizar on April 16, 2008, at the Subway restaurant near Cass and Collins streets where he was working.

When a rival gang arrived and a fight ensued, Huizar ran from behind the counter to the parking lot where he fired three rounds at them.

Huizar missed his targets and killed Alfredo Lopez, 40, who was walking his then 8- and 11-year-old sons through the Walgreens parking lot next door to buy school supplies.

Seven other people were charged in connection with the shooting, prosecutors said. They pleaded guilty to aggravated intimidation or intimidation and received sentences between 10 and 12 years in prison.

Lopez’s wife, Araceli Lopez, gave a written statement to the judge ahead of the sentencing.

“When my daughter asks me ‘Mom, why don’t I have a dad?’... When I walk into my house and I can’t see him and can’t hear his laugh is when I think that the (worst) nightmare will never end,” Araceli Lopez wrote.

Huizar apologized to Lopez’s family before he was sentenced Friday.

“I did not mean to hurt you,” Huizar said. “Please forgive me.”

Contributing: Brian Stanley

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