Miguel Inostroz, 31, was found guilty of second-degree murder in July for the Sept. 20, 2011, slaying of James "Lucie" Parkin, 36. Parkin was fatally shot in the back as she lay facedown on the floor of a motel room at the La Quinta Inn on Hesperian Boulevard in Hayward.
Alameda County Superior Court Judge Roy Hashimoto handed down the punishment Thursday at the Hayward Hall of Justice.
In addition to convicting Inostroz of second-degree murder, jurors convicted him of assault with a firearm for striking Parkin with his gun and of being a felon in possession of a gun. Inostroz, on parole at the time of his arrest, with previous convictions for burglary and robbery, had faced a life prison sentence.
Testimony revealed Inostroz and five other companions were staying at the motel, and Parkin came there after one of Inostroz's companions asked her to give them a ride.
Once Parkin arrived, Inostroz confronted her over the money she owed him, and she removed $30 from her bra, but Inostroz struck the top of her head with the handle of his revolver and pulled her by her hair, prosecutors said.
One of Inostroz's companions tried to intervene by pulling the arm in which Inostroz carried his gun, but Inostroz fired his revolver and shot Parkin in the back, prosecutors said.
Inostroz's lawyer, James Giller, admitted during Inostroz's trial that his client fatally shot Parkin. However, Giller claimed that the shooting was an accident, and the gun went off only because the companion pulled on his client's arm.
Parkin, a pre-op transsexual who preferred to be referred to as a woman, was described as a "beautiful, loving person" by the director of a halfway house where she stayed for six months in 2009.
"She was just the friendliest person; nobody ever had a problem with her," said Raynetta Lewis of the Seventh Step Foundation in Hayward.
Contact Natalie Neysa Alund at 510-293-2469. Follow her at Twitter.com/nataliealund.