Laurel man gets 15 years in fatal beating of immigrant


An 18-year-old Laurel man was sentenced yesterday to 15 years in prison for his role in the beating death of a Salvadoran immigrant in September 1998.

"Your actions have consequences," Prince George's County Circuit Judge E. Allan Shepherd told Cochise I. Queen. "You engaged in cowardly conduct, and you did take the life of another human being."

Queen was convicted Oct. 6 of involuntary manslaughter and first-degree assault, which have combined maximum penalties of 20 years in prison.

Prosecutor Fran Longwell said Gilberto Hernandez, 40, was walking home with his two brothers on Sept. 4, 1998, in Laurel when seven teen-agers intent on robbing Hernandez started chasing them. She said four of the teens stopped their pursuit, but that Queen and two others knocked Hernandez to the ground, kicking and beating him.

Hernandez was rushed to a Washington hospital and died four days later from massive brain injuries. The trials of the two alleged accomplices, Kelly D. Martin, 19, and Steven Darby, 17, both of Laurel, are scheduled to begin this month.

"I would like to say that my heart goes out to the Hernandez family," Queen told the judge before he was sentenced. "I know that I did something wrong, but I did do some good things in my life, too. Please have mercy on me."

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