MCKINNEY –– A Wylie, Texas teen pleaded guilty Monday to manslaughter charges in the violent murder of his well-liked friend.
The 15-year-old, who the state has not identified because of his age, accepted guilt on charges of manslaughter and tampering with evidence in the brutal killing of Nahum Martinez in the 417th State District Court at the Collin County Courthouse.
Martinez, a Wylie East High School track-and-field runner was shot in the head on March 31, 2012. His killer pushed his body from a second-floor window of the home, and then tried to hide Martinez in a storm drain.
Judge Cyndi Wheless sentenced the teen to 15 years in a Texas youth detention center. The boy will be subject to a hearing before his 19th birthday, at which point a judge will decide whether to transfer him to an adult prison or allow him to serve probation for the remainder of his sentence.
"This adolescent totally lacks empathy," Judge Wheless said. "The acceptance of responsibility needs more than a plea agreement. His behavior doesn't show acceptance and responsibility."
During the trial, the 15-year-old suspect told the judge the incident was an accident.
"I got mad," the boy said. "I got the key to the gun cabinet. I got out the gun and bullets."
The Wylie East student testified that Martinez was his only friend when no one else would be. Under questioning by prosecutors, the boy said he feels horrible about killing him.
At one point, the accused teen stood up and addressed the slain boy's family, quietly telling them, "I'm sorry."
"Not a day goes by when I don't think of him and cry myself to sleep," he told the court.
The victim's mother, Teresa Martinez, told the judge she tried to forgive the teen who shot her son. She said she believes he deserves a prison sentence and said she would've preferred his punishment to be longer.
"He took something away from us," she said. "He should never have the ability to do the things my son will never have the opportunity to do."
The suspect's mother testified about the boy's difficult childhood. He was raised by relatives and friends after his father's drug-related death. She also said she had problems with alcohol during the boy's childhood.