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Miguel Martinez receives maximum sentence for murder

In court Thursday, Judge Terry Shewmaker sentenced Miguel Martinez to 65 years in prison for murdering his close friend, 26 year old Tony Perez.

Before the judge read his sentence, Martinez addressed the court and apologized to Perez's mom.

“I'm so sorry for what I did. Every day I think about it, it kills me," said Martinez.

Maria Botello, Perez's mom, spoke after the hearing.

“I had to forgive Miguel. I know he is in a lot of pain and I know his family and his parents are suffering a lot,” Botello said.

Botello took the stand in court and read a letter to Martinez, saying she forgives him.

“It is sad, but he loved my son. Martinez is just another victim in all of this,” Botello said.

The Perez family believes Martinez did not act alone. They believe he was forced to kill Perez over something gang related.

“The real criminals are still out there, living their life after all the damage they did to our family, and to Miguel's family,” said Botello.

Perez has two children who were at the sentencing.

“I loved him (Martinez) as my uncle but why did he kill my daddy? I really miss my dad. He meant everything to me," said 7-year-old Emanuel Perez, Tony Perez's son.

Botello says the family is still struggling to heal—but they are grateful.

”Thank you for everything ABC 57 News did for our family, for our community, thank you," said Botello.

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