A gang leader who ordered a murder from prison will serve at least another 10 years on top of his current term, a judge ruled Thursday.
Tyrese S. Smith, 22, known as "Trouble T," should never get out of prison because he has a callous disregard for human life, 3rd District Judge Sandra Peuler said. She ordered him to serve five years to life plus another five years for gun and gang enhancements."I can only hope the Board of Pardons will never release you again, because I think it would be a big mistake," the judge concluded.
A jury convicted Smith last week of murder, a first-degree felony, for ordering his gang members to kill a man he believed had shot one of his friends.
Instead, the three gangsters mistook Joey Miera, 19, for the intended target and killed him with two shotgun blasts as he slept on the floor of a home in West Salt Lake.
Smith was serving a zero to five-year prison sentence for unrelated assault charges when he telephoned his girlfriend, Melissa Chacon, to order the "hit," or killing. Prison telephone recordings uncovered the plot and were the centerpiece of the prosecution's case.
Defense attorney Paul Gotay argued Thursday that Smith was simply a victim of society and the justice system, which should take his behavior as a condemnation of its ability to deal with people like him.
He also chided Miera's family, who were in the courtroom, for letting their son "have a slumber party" in the West Salt Lake home, which had been the target of three or four drive-by shootings.
Miera was not a gang member. However, a cousin, Adam Archuleta, who once lived in the home on Navajo Street, was active in gangs, according to court testimony.
Smith and the three gang members thought Archuleta still lived in the house when they carried out the shooting, witnesses said.
Miquel Flores, 20; Collin "Monster" Carter, 19; and Cameron "Kid Loc" Lopes, 20; have already pleaded guilty to the murder and are serving five-to-life terms.
Chacon pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder, a second-degree felony, in exchange for her testimony against Smith and the others. She is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 24. Prosecutors will recommend probation; she has already served one year in jail for her role in the plot.