Cortes sentenced to life in prison

Following murder of man outside local restaurant

Cortes sentenced to life in prison

YUMA, Ariz. - The local man convicted of murdering another man outside a local restaurant was sentenced to life in prison and he will not be eligible for parole. 

Modesto Cortes-Serrillo was sentenced Wednesday afternoon in Yuma County Superior Court.

It was a very emotional day. Cortes' daughter Daisy Cortes spoke. She shared before the sentencing that if her father had to serve life in prison he wouldn't be there for her or her children. 

Shortly after the victim's sister spoke. She said that they wouldn't be able to spend time anymore because he's no longer alive.

The judge said that if the sentencing would have been his decision, he would have also given Cortes life without a possibility of parole.

Shortly after the sentencing, the defense team told the judge they would be appealing it. 

Last month he was found guilty of premeditated first-degree murder in the shooting death of Santiago Diaz.

This is a case from 2014, where gunfire erupted outside of the Lin’s Grand Buffet restaurant. The convicted killer shot his ex-wife's new love interest and then fled to Mexico.

After several weeks of witness testimonies and presented evidence, the jury found Cortes-Serrillo guilty of first-degree premeditated murder for the 2014 death of Santiago Diaz.

The victim’s family was emotional after the bailiff read the jury’s verdict.

They began crying and hugging outside of the courtroom after the trial determined Cortes’ sentence.

This morning began with closing arguments from both sides.

The prosecution saying Santiago Diaz’ murder was controlled and calculated while the defense argued Cortes reacted out of anger and heat of passion.

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