OAKLAND -- Antonio Torres was one of 13 siblings in the Torres family but always stood out as the favorite uncle to his dozens of nieces and nephews, family members said.
So when Torres, 42, was murdered in 2011 by a pack of raving teenagers during a midday brazen robbery in the Fruitvale district, his death left the family in tatters, his sister said.
Torres' mother fell ill, his domestic partner died of cancer as did one of his sisters, both giving up the fight to live without Torres present, said his sister Maria Torres.
The family's wounds have still not healed and may never but members said they received a small semblance of justice Thursday as one of the teens involved in the killing was sent to prison for 12 years.
"You have no idea how you hurt us and you'll never know," the family said in a statement that was read to James Lee Allen as he was sentenced. "You don't care about life, you just care about killing and robbing and living a bad life."
Allen, 18, was one of four teens who prosecutors say "hunted" for victims to rob in Oakland's Fruitvale neighborhood. The group targeted people wearing necklaces and would attack victims by surprise with one of the four always carrying a loaded revolver.
On May 20, 2011, the group found Torres, a gardener, as he was working on the yard of a friend who has a disabilityjust two blocks from his mother's house. Without warning, prosecutors say, the group attacked Torres stealing a gold chain he was wearing and an iPod he was holding. As Torres tried to runaway, he was shot in the back, deputy district attorney Angela Backers said.
Allen didn't shoot the gun that killed Torres, but he was charged as an adult with murder and robbery for participating in the crime. Late last year, Allen was offered and accepted a plea deal in which he was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter. With credits for time served, Allen should be released from prison in about nine years when he is 27 years old.
For the Torres family, Allen's punishment wasn't enough, neither was a statement Allen gave in court during which he apologized for the crime.
"My concern is that he is going to come out (of prison) and hurt another family," said Maria Torres. "They not only took my brother's life away, they took a part of each of us."
Another Torres' sister, Gabrielle Torres, said that the families of the four defendants should also shoulder some responsibility for the killing. While various family members for the defendants have diligently appeared in court for every hearing, Gabrielle Torres wondered why they were not as diligent in looking after their teens.
"Where were they when their sons were killing innocent people on the streets," Gabrielle Torres asked.
With Allen being sent to prison, the fate of only one of the four involved in the killings remains unresolved.
Jonathan Johnson, who shot the revolver that killed Torres, faces life in prison without the possibility of parole when he goes before a jury on a special circumstances murder charge. Johnson was 17 years old at the time of the shooting and was charged as an adult.
The cases against two others involved were resolved last year with one juvenile who was 15 at the time of the incident pleading guilty to first-degree murder as a juvenile and another, David Hall, who was 19 at the time, being found guilty to being an accessory to murder.
Yet, for the Torres family, the pain will never end.
"You have left us all depressed and broken," Gabrielle Torres said. "I wish that you feel, at least one time, the same my mother and our family are feeling right now."