Anabel Sarabia sobbed Tuesday as she looked across a Las Vegas courtroom at one of her 11-year-old daughter’s teenage killers.
Angelina Erives was at the kitchen table of her family’s North Las Vegas home on Nov. 1, helping her older sister with a science project, when bullets ripped through the windows.
“They did not stop,” the girl’s mother said. “They did not stop. They did not care. I know my Angelina’s in a better place. But he took a life away from her. She still had a life to live.”
Angelina was the only one struck by what authorities called gang-related gunfire meant for another house. One of the gunmen, Damion Dill, who was 16 at the time, pleaded guilty this year to first-degree murder. Because of his age, prosecutors agreed to a sentence of 20 to 50 years in prison, which District Judge Michelle Leavitt handed down Tuesday.
Three other men — 20-year-old Jarquan Tiffith, 19-year-old Isaac George and 18-year-old Erin Deshawn Lynn Hines — are awaiting trial for their roles in the shooting. Prosecutors are seeking capital punishment for George and Tiffith.
A fifth suspect, 19-year-old Guy Lee Banks III, died from a gunshot wound to the head after a neighbor fired at their vehicle as they fled the scene.
Angelina’s stepfather, Alberto Sarabia, told the judge that moments before 43 shots rang out, he told the girl how beautiful she had become. He was on the second floor of the home in the 6700 block of Courtney Michelle Street when the shooting started.
He rushed downstairs to find Angelina, whom he helped raise, in a pool of blood and tried to resuscitate her but, he said, he knew it was too late.
“Every day. Every day I fall asleep thinking about my beautiful angel. Every day,” Alberto Sarabia said. “I still wake up thinking this is a horrible nightmare, and that pain comes all over again.”
Now, he said, he relies on his faith to move forward.
“My family and I, and all the loved ones of Angelina, will have a life of grief and pain,” he said. “We will all have that void.”
In court, Dill stood shackled in a jail jumpsuit, reading from a sheet of paper, and asked forgiveness.
“I know that saying I am sorry will never be enough,” the 17-year-old said. “I feel terrible about the role I played in this whole situation.”
His lawyer, assistant special public defender Jordan Savage, wrote in a sentencing brief that Dill’s mother used methamphetamine and alcohol when she was pregnant, and she was imprisoned while he was a baby.
“He accepts responsibility,” Savage said, “and he will feel remorse every day for the rest of his life.”
As the Sarabias expressed their loss, North Las Vegas police homicide detectives standing in the back of the courtroom wiped tears from their eyes.
“I can’t forgive right now. I can’t,” Alberto Sarabia said. “Forty-three rounds. How? How can you say sorry after that? This world needs beautiful souls like my Angelina. I don’t want to hear ‘sorry.’”