RANCHO CUCAMONGA — A Pomona man convicted of murdering one man and shooting at two others was sentenced to more than a century in state prison today in West Valley Superior Court.
Rigoberto Polanco, 25, was released from prison only three days before he opened fire on a group of men in Montclair in August 2007, killing 20-year-old Gilbert Devery of Rancho Cucamonga, prosecutors said.
Following a failed bid for a new trial this morning, Polanco was sentenced by Judge Raymond L. Haight III to 107 years and 8 months to life in prison.
Polanco maintained his innocence in statements to the court today.
“I’m not a murderer, and I’m not here to be judged by anybody else,” Polanco said.
Polanco was in the area of Camarena Avenue north of Kingsley street in Montclair on Aug. 23, 2007 when he came across and began talking to three men, authorities said.
Polanco said he was affiliated with a Pomona street gang, and one of the three men in the group — not Devery — told Polanco he was associated with a gang from El Monte, said Deputy District Attorney Tom Colclough.
A shoving match ensued, and the men eventually separated. About three hours later, Polanco returned to the area with a handgun.
When he came across the group near Kingsley and Marion Avenue, he opened fire and the three men ran away.
Devery died from a single gunshot wound to the back, and another man injured a foot jumping over a fence while fleeing, Colclough said.
Polanco was identified by witnesses and arrested five days later.
After three days of deliberations, a jury found Polanco guilty on July 2, 2008 of one count of murder, two counts of attempted murder and other charges.
This morning, Polanco’s defense attorney, David Goldstein, told Haight that Polanco deserved a new trial because of mistakes made by Polanco’s trial attorney, David Gunn.
“His trial was not consistent with due process,” Goldstein said.
Goldstein told Haight at the end of today’s hearing that will file a notice of appeal for Polanco’s case.
After Haight denied Polanco’s motion for a new trial, three of Devery’s family members read statements to the court mourning their relative’s loss and blasting Polanco.
“You never showed any remorse for what you did,” said Cynthia Flores, Devery’s aunt. “You just sat there in court with that stupid smirk.”
“You’re just scum,” she added.
Devery’s cousin, Paul Aguilar, called on Polanco to take responsibility for the killing. “That you maintain your innocence is a joke,” Aguilar said.
In the courthouse parking lot after the sentencing hearing, Aguilar was punched several times by one of Polanco’s relatives, said San Bernardino County sheriff’s Sgt. Peter Bamberger.
The alleged assailant fled before sheriff’s deputies arrived to the area. Deputies investigating the incident are working to determine the man’s identity and locate him, Bamberger said.
Polanco served three stints in state prison before the Montclair incident — for assaulting a prison guard, auto theft and receiving stolen property, Colclough said.
“He’s been in the system since a juvenile,” Colclough said.