Kingman murder accomplice gets nine years
Langan tells court he'll 'make it right' with co-defendant
5/12/2013 6:00:00 AM
By Doug McMurdo
KINGMAN - At an emotional sentencing hearing Friday, John Patric Langan II said he had nothing to do with the July 2011 killing of Alberto Orozco.
Orozco's family begs to differ.
Orozco was 28 years old when Russell Shields, according to Langan, shot the man in the garage of Shields' Kingman home.
Originally charged with murder and other crimes, Langan pleaded guilty to a lesser count of hindering prosecution in the first degree. He was sentenced to nearly nine years in prison. A new trial date for Shields could be scheduled next Friday when he appears before Superior Court Judge Derek Carlisle.
Langan, 33, said he was in the bathroom when he heard the gunshot that killed Orozco.
He said he was there for "protection" as Shields attempted to collect a debt from the victim.
Defense attorney Randall Craig told Superior Court Judge Steven Conn that Langan was extremely remorseful over the killing.
"They were there, him and (Shields) to collect money," said Craig, who told Conn Langan's previous courtroom outbursts were due to his anger over getting caught up in Orozco's murder.
"I'm really sorry," said Langan, speaking to about 30 of Orozco's relatives in the courtroom. "I've been to hell and back over this (incident). I thought I was doing right for a friend."
Shields allegedly shot Orozco on or about July 18, 2011, and Langan helped him clean up the crime scene. The men placed Orozco's body in the passenger seat of his own car and Langan abandoned the body and the vehicle on a Kingman street.
He admitted he took money from Orozco's pocket and gave it to Shields. The robbery reportedly netted the men about $400.
"Everybody kind of got jacked over this deal," said Langan. "I'm sorry, man."
He then implied he would exact revenge on Shields.
"I didn't have nothing to do with that and I don't care if it takes 10 or 20 years for him to get out," Langan said. "I'll make it right."
Several of Orozco's relatives spoke of the impact his murder has had on the family, particularly Orozco's young son.
"My son was a wonderful person," said Orozco's mother, Aracela Salazar. "He had a son and his son won't see him anymore. When they took his life, they took our lives, too.
"I feel so sorry for my grandson. Alberto meant the whole world to my grandson. He was my son. My only son."
Speaking directly to Langan, she said, "You're the only one who saw him alive (last). I feel sorry for you and I feel sorry for your parents. I know how they feel."
Three women related to Langan listened respectfully as Salazar spoke.
Salazar acknowledged her son "wound up with the wrong friends," but he was raised to work hard, not hurt anyone and earn everything he got.
"I just can't explain how much pain is in me," she said.
"I have anger," said Yolanda Orozco, the victim's sister. "There's nothing that can bring him back. To me, if he was really sorry he would have called for help. He could have called anonymously. It disgusts me how they dumped him like he's trash. They even stole his cigarettes and went to party.
"We're asking for justice. We want justice."
Another sister, Raquel Lozano, and a cousin, Antonio Orozco, also delivered emotional testimony.
Conn determined there were aggravating circumstances that justified the lengthy sentence given the plea agreement. He's an ex-felon and an accomplice was involved, but Conn indicated the third factor - the manner in which Orozco's body was dumped - was the most compelling reason to add years to his sentence.
The judge also offered an opinion of Langan's previous courtroom antics.
"I feel more comfortable with you 20 feet away from me with two corrections officers next to you. I think you could kill somebody," he said.
Langan told the court his "penitentiary cred" has been damaged because of the case. As he was led out of the courtroom, he told family members he did help by talking to police.
"I'm known as a snitch now," he said. "And I'll make this right."
Langan received 624 days credit for time already served.
Shields will be in court Friday for a hearing that could end with a new trial date. He will be sentenced on charges of selling methamphetamine on May 31 in an unrelated case.
Police and prosecutors believe Shields shot another man about a month after Orozco was murdered, but charges were dropped because the victim, who survived a stomach wound, would not name the shooter.