One of youngest teens in East High shootings case pleads guilty to first-degree murder
A 16-year-old on Wednesday pleaded guilty in Polk County District Court to first degree murder in the 2022 fatal drive-by shooting of another boy and wounding of two students outside East High School.
Alex Perdomo, who was 15 at the time of the shooting, was the second defendant in the case to plead to first degree murder. He will be remanded to juvenile detention until his sentencing when he turns 18 in fall 2024. At that time, he could face life in prison with the possibility of parole, an option available to juvenile offenders.
But because Perdomo was one of the two youngest among the 10 teens charged in the case, a judge previously ruled that he would be designated a "youthful offender." Under Iowa law, that means he will be prosecuted in adult court but will still have access to juvenile-specific treatment and education programs, and could be eligible for a deferred judgment with parole and probation.
Asked Wednesday by Judge Lawrence McLellan why he was entering the plea, Perdomo said, "I just think it's the best thing I could do."
Previously, Romeo Perdomo, who was 16 at the time of the March 7, 2022, shootings, pleaded guilty to first degree murder in the case and received a sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole. Police have not said if the two Perdomos are related.
Also facing charges of first degree murder are Nyang Chamdual, who was 14 at the time of the shootings and like Alex Perdomo was designated a youthful offender, and Octavio Lopez Sanchez, 18. Both of their cases are set to go to trial in August.
Alex Perdomo was the eighth of the teens charged to enter a plea in the killing of 15-year-old Jose David Lopez and wounding of students Jessica Lopez, then 16, and Kemery Ortega, then 18.
Prosecutors said the Perdomos and others in the group, including Chamdual and Lopez Sanchez, fired over 40 shots from three cars into a crowd standing on the sidewalk in front of the school.
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According to court documents, the teens drove to East High seeking David Lopez after unsuccessfully trying to track down another boy at Hoover High School. Police have said the departure of the three cars from the home of one of the boys was caught on a surveillance camera.
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In addition to Romeo Perdomo, two of the defendants have been sentenced so far. Kevin Martinez, now 17, who drove one of the three cars in the attack, pleaded guilty to two charges of intimidation with a dangerous weapon, and was sentenced in November to up to 20 years in prison.
Braulio Hernandez Salas pleaded guilty to two charges of intimidation with a dangerous weapon and was sentenced in February to up to 20 years in prison.
Four more teens are scheduled for sentencing in May on charges ranging from second-degree murder to accessory after the fact. Under the terms of their plea deals, they face penalties ranging from 50 years in prison to a suspended sentence with probation.
More:Victim identified, 6 teens charged with murder in fatal shooting outside East High School
Staff writer Francesca Block contributed to this article.
Noelle Alviz-Gransee is a breaking news reporter at the Des Moines Register. Follow her on Twitter @NoelleHannika or email her at NAlvizGransee@registermedia.com.
This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: First degree murder plea entered in East High shootings case