A former Pueblo High School football star, Andre DeWayne Mays, 23, was sentenced Friday to two 10-year prison sentences for his role in a drug rip-off that ended with two men dead.
The sentences will be served concurrently.
Mays pleaded guilty to second-degree murder rather than face a jury trial on two charges of first-degree murder in the Jan. 29, 2008, shooting.
Dressed in orange jail garb and handcuffed, Mays fought back tears in Pima County Superior Court before about a dozen family members as Judge Deborah Bernini gave him the most lenient sentence possible under state sentencing guidelines.
Mays could have been sentenced to 16 years on each of two charges of second-degree murder, although he did not have a gun.
Arizona law allows anyone involved in a crime that results in death to be charged with murder.
Manuel Alcarez, 19, and Francisco Gonzalez, 27, died in a shootout in a home near 12th Avenue and Valencia Road.
Gonzalez was shot a total of nine times: in the head, back, chest, arms, hands, thighs and buttocks, according to court records. Alcarez was shot four times, including in the head.
Mays, then 22, set up a marijuana sale with Netzahualcoyotl G. Ramos, 34, and Vincent A. Valenzuela, 22.
Ramos was convicted in January of two charges of first-degree murder and sentenced to consecutive sentences of life in prison.
Valenzuela pleaded guilty to two charges of second-degree murder and is awaiting sentencing June 5. He faces up to 16 years in prison on each charge.
Mays, Ramos and Valenzuela were arrested after witnesses identified them.
Prosecutor Shawn Jensvold said Mays was 10 percent responsible for the murders, Ramos was 75 percent to blame and co-defendant Valenzuela was 15 percent responsible.
Mays’ attorney, Robert Murray, pleaded for Bernini to show mercy for Mays, who he described as “a smart young man who took a couple of wrong turns.”
He pointed out that Mays was attending Pima Community College at the time of the killings and has been getting counseling in jail from the Rev. Grady Scott, who attended the sentencing.
“(Mays) has the potential of being a contributing member of society,” Murray said.
Mays rushed for 1,070 yards and 10 scores as a junior in 2002 and was third in the city in rushing midway through his senior season in 2003 before he was hampered by an ankle injury.
One of the victims’ relatives, who addressed Mays before Bernini pronounced sentence told Mays, “God bless you, dog, because only God can help you.”
Mays replied, “I hope there is some way you can not hate me. I really am sorry.”
Bernini said Mays’ remorse, his acceptance of responsibility, the fact that he had no gun during the shootings and has family and community support convinced her that he deserves the minimum required sentence.