Teen sentenced to 90 years
Thursday, June 21, 2007 12:46 AM CDT
CROWN POINT | A judge who earlier gave an East Chicago
teen a break, now has sentenced him to 90 years in
Steven Quinones, 19, didn't show up for his trial or
sentencing, but that didn't stop a jury from
convicting him in May of murder, attempted murder and
During the trial, Quinones sent Lake Criminal Court
Judge Salvador Vasquez a letter saying he felt he was
being railroaded and would not be in court, Vasquez
said before announcing the sentence. Quinones is not
Jurors heard that Quinones fired into a group of seven
teens on Feb. 22, 2006, killing Hayward Jackson Jr.,
Deputy Prosecutor Christy Short said Quinones gave a
statement to police after the shooting acknowledging
his connection to the Imperial Gangsters street gang.
In a previous case in December 2003, Quinones took a
handgun to Block Junior High School and pleaded guilty
to a weapons violation. In that case, Vasquez
sentenced Quinones to a day reporting program, the
terms of which Quinones violated. He completed his
sentence in the work-release program, where by all
accounts Quinones did well.
In November 2005, Quinones appeared before Vasquez
asking the judge to turn his felony conviction in the
2003 case into a misdemeanor.
After a lecture to Quinones about staying out of
trouble, Vasquez granted the request.
"He made a pitch to me to give him a misdemeanor,"
Vasquez said during Wednesday's sentencing hearing. "I
believed it was a proper decision at that time.
Hindsight dictates otherwise. He is a gang member who
liked to handle guns."