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Hanford teen gets life in prison for car wash murder

June 3, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
A Hanford teenager will spend the rest of his life in prison for a vicious crime two summers ago. Denise McVay was randomly stabbed to death by a gang member at a Hanford car wash.

Denise McVay's family applauded and cheered when a judge sentenced Jose Saldana to life without the possibility of parole. During the sentencing the judge called the crime callous and said Saldana had no regard for human life.

Family members of 49-year-old Denise McVay left a Kings County courthouse relieved that her killer was given the maximum sentence, life without the possibility of parole.

Cameras were not allowed inside the courtroom as 19-year-old Jose Saldana was sentenced. McVay's family says today marks the beginning of closure for what's been a very painful 22-months.

Denise McVay's sister, Debbie Rodriguez said, "We were satisfied with the sentence and we know Denise will receive justice after all and he got life without no possibility of parole and hopefully, eventually whatever comes to him will come."

Denise McVay was murdered by Jose Saldana back in July of 2011. Prosecutors say after an alcohol-fueled night, the gang member saw McVay at a Hanford gas station and flipped a coin to decide whether or not he should kill her. After Saldana stabbed McVay 64 times he carved a gang symbol on her back, stole her car and wallet and went to buy new clothes.

Prosecutor Larry Crouch said, "It's just beyond imagination for me. I have no idea the mentality it takes to do something like that."

Now that the sentencing phase is over, McVay's family members are hoping the community will remember the hard-working mom for her dedication to her job and family.

Rodriguez added, "As a person that would help anyone anytime for anything, very reliable she was a very reliable person and she was a good hard worker, she wanted to make an honest living and support her daughter."

Prosecutors say Saldana's co-conspirator in the case, Mauricio Ortiz, is expected to have his case settled soon.


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