22-year-old Leonel Mejia, a member of the gang MS-13, was sentenced to mandatory life in prison without parole in a Long Island courtroom. In September 2003, Mejia murdered 19-year-old Edgardo Sanchez, in North Massapequa. Sanchez was a former member of the gang and a law enforcement informant.
Federal Judge Leonard D. Wexler estimated that the incarceration of Leonel Mejia will cost taxpayers $40,000 a year. If Mejia lives another 60 years it will cost taxpayers $2.4 million.
I of course am for the death penalty and think that we could resolve this sentence and cost the taxpayers only about 10 cents. The price of a bullet.
While judge Wexler was forced to impose the life sentence, I don't feel he really understands this issue.
"This defendant came to this country to better his life," Wexler said as Mejia, clad in tan jail scrubs, stood before him and heard his words through a Spanish-language interpreter. "What he cost the country is pain, anguish and money." Mejia did not respond to the judge.
Wexler said he had several more gang cases pending but he was beginning to feel a sting of futility in handling them.
I don't believe that Leonel Mejia came here to better his life. He was looking to break the law from the beginning. As to the futility of prosecuting law breakers... where's the futility? Are we supposed to just let them run wild? An odd statement from a judge.
Leonel Mejia's defense attorney Elizabeth Macedonio plans to file an appeal.