Two men were sentenced Wednesday in the 2009 shooting death of a Chicago police officer.
Circuit Court Judge Jorge Alonso sentenced Christopher Harris, 25, to 105 years in prison, the maximum he could have received. Kevin Walker, 24, was sentenced to 120 years in prison.
Walker and Harris were convicted in the death of Officer Alejandro "Alex" Valadez. The officer was shot to death as he investigated a shots-fired call on the city's South Side in June 2009.
"My family and I are thankful that this is finally over. It's a chapter in our lives that we can finally put behind us," the victim's sister, Brenda Valdez said. "It will never bring any closure. The loss will never be any less."
In court, Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez brandished the same weapon the suspects did, calling the crime a senseless retaliation for a previous shooting earlier that day.
"I think this sends a strong message to those people who want to take the law into their own hands and go out there and shoot, that there's no place for that in our society," Alvarez said.
"Ironically, Alex was gunned down by members of the community he worked so hard to protect," his sister, Wilda Garcia, told the judge Wednesday.
"It breaks my heart that my nephew has to go to the cemetery to visit his father," Valadez's sister, Brenda Valadez, said.
A third defendant, 25-year-old Shawn Gaston, also was convicted in the death of Valadez. He's serving a 125-year prison sentence. That's the maximum he could have received, and he'll have to serve at least 80 years.
He proclaimed his innocence at his October 2011 sentencing hearing.
"I love my family. I want to apologize to you, to the victim's family I send my heart out. But I'm an innocent man, I lost a lot of people in my life too. But I'm an innocent man," he said.
Valadez and his partner, Tom Vargas, were responding to a call of shots fired at West 60th Street and South Hermitage Avenue in June 2009 when Valadez was struck by bullets in his thigh and behind his left ear.
Gaston and Walker were arrested within days of Valadez's slaying. Harris was arrested several weeks later. All three admitted to police their roles in the crime, officials said.