Luis Rijo DeLos Santos gets plea, 15 years in cross-dresser murder

062615_santos_7Just days before what would have been his second trial in the death of Tyrell Jackson, Luis Rijo De Los Santos accepted a 15-year prison sentence as part of a last minute plea deal.

The sentence, which Circuit Judge Glenn Kelley imposed Wednesday, ends the case where he once faced a possible death sentence for killing the cross-dresser he haid he thought was a woman when he picked him and another man up in 2012.

“I loved my grandson. He would’ve never hurt anyone,” Dorothy Jackson told Rijo De Los Santos before the judge sentenced him. “But you chased him down, you shot him, and you left him to die.”

Kelley in June 2015 declared a mistrial on the first degree murder charge and two counts of attempted murder in the shootings that killed Jackson and injured Michael Hunter and Terence Chatman after jurors failed to reach a unanimous verdict on those charges.

The charges the jurors acquitted him on are the ones that pertain to Chatman. Assistant State Attorneys Lauren Godden and Teri Skiles reached the plea agreement with defense attorney Marc Shiner rather than take the case to trial, where several witnesses involved in the case have gotten in trouble with the law themselves since the last trial.

The three victims, who sometimes worked as prostitutes, were all dressed as women on March 24, 2012, when their two separate encounters with Rijo De Los Santos ended in gunfire.

Rijo De Los Santos was the star witness in his own defense during the month long trial last year, telling jurors that he shot Jackson and Hunter in Riviera Beach because they’d tried to rob him after he’d given them a ride to a convenience store.

According to Rijo De Los Santos, Chatman was with Hunter and Jackson when he initially encountered them in the 4400 block of Broadway and he, thinking they were women, offered Hunter and Jackson a ride.

Rijo De Los Santos said after the first shooting, he drove back to West Palm Beach, where he encountered Chatman and tried to tell him that his friends had tried to rob him, only to have Chatman also pull a knife on him.