A 27-year-old Army veteran was sentenced on Thursday to life in prison with the possibility of parole for his role in the fatal shooting and robbery of a Las Vegas-area rapper in 2019.
“You are robbing and killing the very citizens that you swore and fought to protect,” District Judge Jacqueline Bluth said during Angell Fernandez’s sentencing hearing. “And that is just so hard for me to wrap my head around, with all of these good qualities that you have.”
In May, a jury convicted Fernandez of first-degree murder, attempted murder, battery, burglary, multiple robbery counts and a weapons charge, but it was deadlocked when trying to decide whether Fernandez should receive a life sentence.
He will be eligible for parole after 31 years under the sentence imposed by Bluth on Thursday. The judge also ordered him to pay $11,164 in restitution.
Fernandez was one of three men arrested in connection with the death of 40-year-old Ronnie Cravens Jr., a rapper known as Succeed Phlyguy. Prosecutors have said Fernandez planned the home invasion and robbery at the Henderson home where Cravens lived with his roommates.
On Thursday, Bluth said she agreed with the argument that Fernandez was the “mastermind” behind the robbery.
Two masked men, including Fernandez, broke into the home on Oct. 12, 2019, and Fernandez was linked to a firearm shot 12 times during the ensuing gunfight, prosecutors have said. One roommate was shot in the leg, while Cravens died of multiple gunshot wounds.
Prosecutors have said Fernandez was linked to the killing through pizza deliveries sent to Cravens’ home in the days prior to the shooting. The deliveries were made to conduct surveillance on the house.
Defense attorney Dan Winder said Thursday that Fernandez’s co-defendant, 40-year-old Wahid Briley, was the robber who is accused of fatally injuring Cravens.
Briley is scheduled to go to trial in January. A third suspect in the case, 30-year-old Michael Mosley, was sentenced in April to between 12 and 30 years in prison for his role in the robbery and shooting.
Winder said that there was not enough evidence to prove that Fernandez planned the robbery. Following the hearing, Winder said he plans to appeal Fernandez’s conviction and sentence.
During the penalty phase of Fernandez’s trial, defense attorneys argued that he had been abused as a child but grew up to be a straight-A student before joining the Army.
Bluth acknowledged Fernandez’s “horrific childhood.”
“But you are such an enigma in so many different ways,” she said. “You have the capacity to do such good … but then you use all those good things in bad ways.”
Cravens’ daughter, Kayleigh Evans, told the judge that she longs to hear her father’s laugh and see his smile again. She said Cravens was days away from signing with a record label when he was killed.
“All he wanted to do was to be able to make it in this world,” Evans said. “He wanted to be somebody, wanted his name remembered.”