<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=192888919167017&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
Thursday, September 21, 2023
Sept. 21, 2023

Linkedin Pinterest

Vancouver man sentenced to more than 15 years for 2021 murder

By , Columbian Assistant Metro Editor

A Vancouver man was sentenced Friday to more than 15 years in prison for the August 2021 murder of a man he believed was a rival gang member in an east Vancouver parking lot.

Luis Perez-Mejia, 24, pleaded guilty in Clark County Superior Court to second-degree murder for the fatal shooting of 34-year-old Armando P. Valencia. He faced a sentencing range of 134 to 234 months, or about 11 to 19½ years, in prison.

Senior Deputy Prosecutor Toby Krauel told the judge Valencia was doing nothing wrong when he was shot and killed, and his death has devastated his family. He passed forward a photo of Valencia.

A victim advocate read statements from Valencia’s brother, daughter and mother. Each asked that Perez-Mejia be sentenced to the maximum.

Valencia’s family described him as kind, respectful and empathetic, having a big heart.

“We shouldn’t live in a world where a dangerous crime gets a slap on the wrist. While my brother’s life got cut short and taken away, Luis, who is responsible for my brother’s death, is still alive, breathing, in good health and is going to walk out in a few years like it wasn’t a big deal,” Marcus Valencia wrote.

He said Perez-Mejia is from El Salvador and a gang member.

“He knew exactly what he was doing when he picked up that stolen gun and pulled the trigger, killing my brother. People like that will likely do it again and again, one way or another,” Marcus Valencia wrote.

Valencia’s daughter said he had a magic effect of putting a smile on people’s faces.

“As a child, you look forward to making new memories with your father. You look forward to many special, beautiful moments, like your first father-daughter dance, your dad presenting you at your quinceanera, holding my father’s hand as he walks me down the aisle on my special day,” she wrote. She said Perez-Mejia took those opportunities from her.

Through a Spanish interpreter, Perez-Mejia apologized to the family.

“I know I made a bad decision. I was very young. I didn’t know what I was doing. I know with my words I can’t bring anybody back,” he said. Still, he asked for their forgiveness.

“When I finish my sentence, I will probably be deported and killed, because it’s very dangerous there,” he noted.

Perez-Mejia asked the judge to give him the sentence he thinks he deserves.

The prosecution had recommended 150 months. Krauel said the case was negotiated with a plea, due to the difficulty of evidence if it had gone to trial. He added that Perez-Mejia had reached out for a plea deal and to take accountability for his crime. Defense attorney Louis Byrd Jr., noted the witnesses in the case were unreliable.

Still, Judge John Fairgrieve opted to hand down a midrange sentence of 184 months, after taking into account the crime and damage to Valencia’s family.

Vancouver police officers responded at 6:13 p.m. Aug. 21, 2021, to a parking lot at 2715 N.E. 138th Ave., for reports of a shooting. They found Valencia fatally shot in the chest, according to a probable cause affidavit. Witnesses told police they heard gunshots and saw a blue car speed away.

Troy Vallencourt said he was meeting with Valencia in the parking lot to buy a set of speakers. He told police Perez-Mejia and another man drove up next to Valencia’s car in a blue Honda Civic. He said he knows Perez-Mejia by the name “Psycho” and thought the pair was affiliated with a gang, the affidavit states.

Vallencourt said the pair asked Valencia what his gang affiliation was and that Valencia showed them a hand symbol. He then said Perez-Mejia rolled down his window more and displayed a revolver. He said Perez-Mejia fired multiple shots at Valencia, court records say.

Vallencourt later identified Perez-Mejia from photos as the person who shot Valencia, according to court records.

Police served a search warrant on Perez-Mejia’s car. They found two guns inside, including one that matched Vallencourt’s description of the one used to shoot Valencia, the affidavit states. The revolver had previously been reported stolen.