Fayette County

Purported gang member sentenced to 21 years in fatal shooting

A man said to be a high-level member of the Latin Kings in Lexington was sentenced Thursday to 21 years in prison for ordering younger members of the gang to kill a fellow member.

Fayette Circuit Judge Ernesto Scorsone accepted the prosecution's recommendation, sentencing Matthew "King Red Dog" Robey to 20 years for first-degree complicity to manslaughter and one year for second-degree unlawful transaction with a minor. The sentences will be served consecutively.

"I wish it wouldn't have happened the way it did," Robey said during the sentencing. "I can't change time. I'm really sorry."

Julio Vargas-Torres, who communicated Robey's order and supplied the handgun, also was scheduled to be sentenced Thursday in Fayette Circuit Court, but the sentencing was continued to April 30. Vargas has pleaded guilty to criminal facilitation. Prosecutors have recommended he serve five years.

Robey, 27, and Vargas, 18, were to stand trial in the December 2007 slaying of Luis "Loco" Quiroz, 19.

Robey has said he ordered gang members to beat up Quiroz. He did not admit to ordering his death.

Vargas said he failed to stop the killing and admitted to driving the shooter away from the scene the evening of Dec. 21, 2007.

Quiroz, a fellow Latin King whose commitment to the gang had flagged considerably in their eyes, was found shot in the head, his body slumped over the wheel of a car parked on Trailwood Lane. He died later at University of Kentucky Hospital.

Prosecutors had several gang members lined up to testify against Robey and Vargas in the trial this March, but it ended abruptly when they accepted plea deals to lesser charges.

Still, prosecutors have netted several convictions tied to the slaying.

Earlier this month, Manny Erevia, 16, who admitted he was the shooter, and Jose Cruz, 17, appeared in court for facilitation to commit murder. They will remain in a juvenile detention center until they are sentenced next year as adults.

And Adrian Buenrostro, 19, and Isaias Manuel, 20, who were in the car during the shooting, were sentenced to three years in prison for complicity to commit murder.