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A state district court judge sentenced a California man Friday to 11½ years in prison in the 2019 shooting death of Daniel Sias, 34, following a night of heavy drinking at an Albuquerque apartment.
Franklin Robert Gallegos, 40, pleaded guilty in May to second-degree murder and had faced eight to 12 years in prison under the plea agreement.
“If there is any love left in your heart, I implore you to cultivate it,” Sias’ mother, Noemi Sias, told Gallegos at his sentencing hearing Friday.
“Invest your time in becoming a better person,” she said. “When you have done your time I can only hope that your life burns brighter.”
Gallegos declined to speak prior to sentencing.
Assistant District Attorney Guinevere Ice said Gallegos fatally shot Sias once in the chest after several hours of heavy drinking that began at a bowling alley and continued at an apartment where Gallegos was staying.
A third man present at the gathering said Sias had made a comment, possibly as a joke, that had enraged Gallegos, who drew a pistol and fired four gunshots, Ice said.
“He essentially had no motive,” Ice said of Gallegos’ reasons for shooting Sias. “He shot this individual for no particular reason.”
Gallegos’ attorney, Robert Aragon, told 2nd Judicial District Judge Bruce Fox that Gallegos first fired two shots into the ceiling, apparently as a warning, after an argument broke out between the three men.
The warning shots showed “a good-faith effort” to get the other men to “back off,” Aragon said.
The woman who found Sias’ body had been letting Gallegos stay at her apartment near Montgomery and Pennsylvania NE in the weeks before the slaying, according to court records.
The day after the killing, officers found Gallegos at a tattoo shop where he worked. A coworker told police he had loaned Gallegos his revolver “for protection” before the homicide, and a frantic Gallegos returned later saying he had shot someone and buried the revolver in a park afterward, according to an affidavit.
Gallegos previously had been convicted of violent felonies in California, including robbery aggravated assault, and was violating the law by possessing a firearm, Ice said.