HAYWARD -- Since her son was shot and killed more than 3½ years ago, Sarita Nava said dozens of friends and relatives have memorialized the young man with tattoos of his face, his name or a saying honoring him.
The gestures made her happy and proud, as did the remembrances of Samuel Nava III's caring spirit -- how he volunteered at after-school programs at elementary schools and loaned friends lunch money and winter coats. When his older sister, Nicolette Nava, now 22, picked up his Hayward High School diploma posthumously she felt a little peace, as she does when she sits at his graveside at a Hayward cemetery.
But it wasn't until Monday that the Hayward woman said she really felt that justice was served.
On Monday, a jury of six women and six men convicted Robert Yim, 23 of Union City, of second degree-murder and three counts of attempted murder. He will be sentenced in March and could spend his life in prison, she said.
"Perseverance and patience is golden as justice will prevail," Sarita Nava said Tuesday. "I'm never going to get my son back, but I'm happy we had a good jury. I'm happy that we had a great district attorney and a wonderful judge and I felt a sense of calmness with the verdict."
Since her 17-year-old son's death she said she has seen eight tattoos on family and friends showing the likeness of her son and another 19 people have either had his name or a saying related to the late teen tattooed on their bodies.
"That has just amazed me, but he was an amazing young man," she said.
On the evening of May 3, 2010, Samuel Nava had gone with three friends to Southland Mall to pick up job applications. Later, they were sitting in the car in a parking lot of Stonybrook Park in Hayward talking. Yim was eating at a park table with his girlfriend and their 1-year-old daughter.
A staredown ensued between Yim and the four teens and one of the teens (not Nava) asked Yim, "Is there a problem?" authorities said.
Yim responded, then went to his girlfriend's car and got a gun, according to prosecutors. After the four teens drove away, the driver of their car made a U-turn at Mission and Industrial boulevards; Yim walked onto the center median and fired four rounds at the car.
One of the shots hit Nava in the head, fatally wounding him. No one else was shot or injured.
Sarita Nava said she plans to read a statement to Yim at the sentencing in March.
"This person had no feeling for life," she said. "He's a cold-blooded murderer. He had no thought for life, no value for life."
Yim's girlfriend, Veronica Marie Rodriguez, was originally charged as an accessory to murder after the fact, but was later released after testifying against Yim.
Lawyers on both sides of the case were not available for comment Tuesday. Yim remains at Santa Rita Jail without bail.