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No death penalty for P.R. mass killer

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, March 25 (UPI) — A gunman who killed eight people, including a pregnant woman, at a bar in Puerto Rico in 2009 will serve life in prison, authorities said Monday.

Alexis Candelario-Santana, 41, will formally be given the life sentence with no chance for parole June 21 after a jury was unable to reach a unanimous decision on the death penalty Saturday, the U.S. attorney’s office said in a release Monday.

Besides those who died, 19 people were wounded in “La Tombola Massacre” Oct. 17, 2009, during which hundreds of shots were fired

Candelario-Santana was convicted March 8 of 28 counts of violent crime in aid of racketeering activity, one count of racketeering conspiracy, nine counts of using a firearm in relation to a crime of violence, one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance and one count of possession of a firearm with a prior conviction.

Candelario-Santana was the leader of a drug-trafficking organization that operated in Sabana Seca from 1993-2003. He was alleged to have either personally killed, or ordered others to kill, 13 people he viewed as threats or disloyal.

Candelario-Santana was arrested in 2002 and charged with various killings, but authorities said he continued to lead the organization from jail until fellow gang members Carmelo Rondon-Feliciano and Wilfredo Semprit-Santana took over.

Authorities said Candelario-Santana was released from prison in February 2009 and that fall staged the attack on La Tombola, a pub Semprit-Santana just opened in Toa Baja.

Copyright 2013 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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