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Man sentenced for role in robbery, shooting that paralyzed teen | News

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Man sentenced for role in robbery, shooting that paralyzed teen
Jerry Santistevan

LAS VEGAS -- A man convicted for his role in the robbing and shooting of a teen that was skateboarding at Mountain Ridge Park in Centennial Hills was sentenced Wednesday.

A judge said Jerry Santistevan will have to serve between 16 to 45 years in prison. Authorities said in June 2012 Santistevan was 21 years old when he and another young man, Elijah Alvardo robbed and shot Keaton Belliston, who was 17 at the time.

Alvarado, the one who police said shot Belliston, was previously sentenced to up to 45 years in prison. Wednesday was Santistevan's turn. He begged for the mercy of the court.

“I know it looks really bad, but things got out of hand and there's no excuse for that,” Santistevan said addressing the courtroom. “I can prove to you and to everybody else, especially myself that I can be a productive individual in society."

Belliston, who's now 21 years old, said facing Santistevan in court was like reliving that night.

“It was kind of like flashbacks and stuff,” Belliston said. "They ran up, with their gun, and I almost thought they were joking at first,” Belliston said.

The shooting paralyzed Belliston from the waist down, so he will spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair.

"I was on my back. I couldn't figure out why I wasn't running,” said Belliston. "Every aspect of daily life has pretty much changed.”

The judge considered the seriousness of the crime, along with Santistevan extensive criminal history when it came to his sentencing.

"He made horrible life-altering decisions, not only for him, but for the victims. He stands ready to take responsibility for what he did,” the attorney for Jerry said.

For the Belliston family who now lives in Salt Lake City, Utah it's a bit like too little too late. The family says they're reminded of what Keaton went through with everyday struggles.

Although he's trying to move on with his life by volunteering and going to physical therapy, his mother can't help but to feel like her son's the one who's been sentenced.

"Keaton's been sentenced to life in his chair,” said Keri Belliston, victim's mother. "We still have to go on and deal with this. When those guys get out of prison, we're still going to be dealing with the challenges for Keaton in the chair.”

However, Belliston doesn't plan on letting what happened to him stop his life. He plans to attend Brigham Young University this fall.

Those wanting to help Belliston, and his family can donate at their GoFundMe page.

Keaton Belliston