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Man sentenced in shooting of Oklahoma City police officer

Hector Escalante gets life sentence in shooting of Oklahoma City police officer Katie Lawson and his brother received three years for his role in the ambush.
BY TIM WILLERT Published: November 9, 2011

A judge handed out harsh words before sentencing a man to life in prison Tuesday for shooting an Oklahoma City police officer with an assault rifle.

As dozens of police officers looked on, Oklahoma County District Judge Donald L. Deason talked to Hector Escalante, 19, who pleaded guilty in September to ambushing officer Katie Lawson.

“Officer Katie Lawson has more honor, integrity and courage than you will ever be able to comprehend,” Deason told the defendant, who appeared to show no remorse. “The citizens are lucky to have her and just as lucky to have you off the streets.”

Escalante received 10 additional years for pleading guilty to a weapons offense. The sentences will be served consecutively.

Deason sentenced Escalante's brother, Alex Mercado, 18, to three years behind bars. A jury convicted Mercado on Oct. 4 of shooting with intent to kill, even though his brother tried to take the blame.

Their mother, Vilma Escalante, 53, was acquitted of the same offense. She was in the courtroom for sentencing.

Hector Escalante admitted he shot Lawson with a civilian version of an M-16 military assault rifle after his father was arrested on a drunken driving complaint.

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