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Man sentenced to life in Tampa court, but could face death

TAMPA — Francisco Rangel shot two men on Dec. 4, 2008. One died. On Tuesday, a judge decided Rangel should spend the rest of his life in prison.

But he could still end up facing the death penalty.

Rangel, 27, faces a second trial in the new year and a string of more charges, for which prosecutors are seeking the ultimate punishment.

Prosecutors say Rangel was on the run after the Dec. 4 shootings when, during a high-speed chase with deputies, he got out of his sport utility vehicle, opened fire and killed an innocent civilian.

Testimony about the chase came up in court as evidence of Rangel's guilty conscience after the Dec. 4 murder.

At his trial, Rangel wanted to tell jurors he shot the two men in self-defense, but he knew a prosecutor would ask him about the chase if he took the stand. And he didn't want to jeopardize his future case.

With that in mind, he also chose to remain silent Tuesday at his sentencing.

But the mother of Michael Longoria, who died in the first shooting, wanted to hear from him. "I would like for him to stand up and say he's sorry for what he did to my son," Guadalupe Williams said.

She got no response from him.

Rangel, who wore a suit for his trial, was now wearing a jail uniform. He shaved off his hair after his conviction, revealing a head covered with tattoos of letters and numbers.

Deputies said they knew he was a gangster when they saw the markings on his body.

Rangel used methamphetamine the morning of Dec. 4 and rode around with friends, trying to sell jewelry. Witnesses saw no argument break out outside a Plant City home before he pulled the trigger and shot the two.

"I don't feel sorry for you," Williams told him. "What you get is what you deserve.

"Every time you go to sleep, you're going to dream about him, the way you shot him."

She cried.

Rangel squirmed and looked away.

Alexandra Zayas can be reached at azayas@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3354.

Man sentenced to life in Tampa court, but could face death 12/21/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 21, 2010 11:42pm]
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