ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - After more than six years and two murder trials, convicted double murderer Michael Astorga now has his full sentence, and it appears Astorga will not outlive his punishment.
On Friday District Court Judge Stan Whitaker sentenced Astorga, 36, to 28 years in prison for the 2005 murder of former friend Candido Martinez in a dispute over a car.
That sentence will run consecutively with the life sentence plus 13 1/2 years Astorga received in May for killing Bernalillo County Sheriff's Deputy James McGrane.
That means Astorga's total sentence is now life plus 41 1/2 years.
Investigators say Astorga killed McGrane during a midnight traffic stop near Tijeras in 2006 because he knew there was a warrant out for his arrest in the Martinez case.
Astorga has maintained his innocence in both of the murders. That didn't stop Whitaker from handing down the nearly three-decade-long sentence, something Astorga's attorney Gary Mitchell understood.
"I mean if I were a judge in those particular positions I'd probably be doing something very similar," Mitchell said. "The facts are what hopefully will one day set Michael free."
The district attorney who prosecuted the case celebrated the ruling.
"I don't think he ever will admit his responsibility nor do I think he's capable of being remorseful for his actions," District Attorney Kari Brandenburg said. "I think that [it's] good news for our community," Brandenburg said. "Everyone will be safe from Michael Astorga."
The Martinez family became emotional during sentencing. Candido's grandmother Adeline Martinez cried as Mitchell discussed why his client should be given leniency.
" I know he'll never get out of there, he'll never walk the streets," Adeline Martinez said. "As long as [Astorga]'s in there suffering, at least I know my grandson is in heaven. He's not suffering."
As Astorga was being led out of court, Fabian Martinez cursed at his brother's killer. Martinez said later that he was angry about a smirk on Astorga's face.
"He'll have a lot of years to think about what he did,"Martinez, Candido's older brother, said. "Maybe my brother might haunt him in [prison]."
Mitchell said his client was smiling at him, not trying to disrespect the Martinez family.
Both of Astorga's convictions are automatically appealed per state law.
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