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
“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
Hector Escalante admitted he shot Lawson with a civilian version of an M-16 military assault rifle after his father was
“I shot a cop with an AR-15,” Escalante told Deason in September.
Prosecutors accused the three family members of plotting to kill Lawson on Aug. 29, 2010, in an attempt to free the boys'
Lawson had just finished assisting the deputy when she was ambushed near NW 38 and Miller by Hector Escalante, who fired 20 rounds into Lawson's patrol car. She was shot in the face, legs and body, but pulled her own weapon and returned fire, scaring him away.
“When you took fire from Officer Lawson, you turned tail and ran like the coward you are,” Deason told Hector Escalante.
Lawson, who was shot six times, returned to work in March. She called Hector Escalante's actions “unnecessary and senseless.”
“I thank God every day that (Escalante's) evil act did not take me from this world or my family,” Lawson told the court. “The Lord says to forgive, and one day I will find it in my heart to forgive.”
Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater said Hector Escalante's punishment fit the crime.
“He's a danger to society, and this is exactly where he needs to be,” he said.