SPRINGFIELD – Assistant District Attorney Janine M. Simonian wanted a judge to sentence Jose Santiago to a total of 25 to 35 years in state prison, saying he has ” been terrorizing the community for over two decades.”
“It’s time to stop Mr. Santiago’s destructive behavior. It’s time to protect Holyoke, protect the community, from this menace,” Simonian told Hampden Superior Court Judge John S. Ferrara on Wednesday.
Ferrara sentenced Santiago, 39, to 12 to 15 years in state prison.
A jury last month found Santiago, of Holyoke, guilty of four charges in connection with a 2014 shooting in Holyoke which left the victim with a gunshot wound to his buttocks.
Santiago was found guilty of armed assault with intent to murder, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and two illegal firearms charges. Sentencing was set for Wednesday, when at the prosecution’s request Ferrara set aside the guilty verdict on one of the illegal firearms charges.
Simonian wanted a 15 to 20 year sentence on the armed assault with intent to murder conviction and a consecutive 10 to 15 year sentence on the assault and battery with a dangerous weapon conviction.
Defense lawyer Jennifer Cox argued for a 10 to 15 year sentence.
A crowd had gathered to watch a fight scheduled and touted on social media between Santiago’s 19-year-old son and another person. Simonian said Santiago fired three shots with a crowd of people of all ages present.
“A gun had no place at that fight,” she said.
Simonian said of Santiago, “His criminal record began 23 years ago at the age of 16.”
She said, “He’s been terrorizing the community for over two decades.”
Cox said after Santiago’s last conviction there was a period of years where there were no serious crimes and Santiago “attempted to put his life on a different course.”
Ferrara noted since 1997 until his recent arrests most of Santiago’s convictions were for motor vehicle violations or narcotics possessions.
Santiago has two other cases awaiting trial in Hampden Superior Court. In one, he is charged in connection with a Sept. 25, 2015, Holyoke shooting that left the 17-year-old victim seriously injured. Another is a firearms case from 2014.
Last week Santiago was successful in getting a new lawyer appointed to the two pending cases. Santiago said he and Cox disagree on strategy and he feels she failed to represent his best interests in the case in which he was convicted.