Two Arizona teens accused of carrying out a violent crime spree across the Valley in 2020 were sentenced on Friday to nearly 40 years in prison.
Corbin McNeil, 17, and James Quintero, 18, faced a combined 39 felony charges in connection with the crime spree between June and Sept. 2020, which included the murders of 27-year-old Matthew Meisner and 34-year-old Amber Patton.
They both maintained they were innocent until May when they each accepted plea agreements dismissing all but four of the charges against them. In total, they entered into guilty pleas to one count of armed robbery, one count of kidnapping and two counts of second-degree murder for Patton and Meisner's deaths.
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Geoffrey Fish handed down 38-year prison sentences each to McNeil and Quintero on Friday. Their plea agreements allowed for a maximum 44-year prison sentence.
"Let me first address the next of kin and victims' families. ... Whatever number I impose does not put a value on somebody's life and I need to make sure that everybody understands that," Fish said before announcing his sentence.
Details of monthslong crime spree
Authorities across the Valley tied McNeil and Quintero to more than a dozen violent incidents in 2020, including car thefts at gunpoint and three separate shooting deaths.
McNeil was 15 and Quintero was 16 years old at the time, and both were on "intensive" juvenile probation, meaning they were supposed to be closely monitored and on home restriction, according to the Arizona Supreme Court website.
In July 2020, police said they fatally shot Meisner near his apartment in Tempe after he refused to give them his wallet and phone. Meisner's death led to a change in state law allowing landlords to save a tenant's pet in the event of their untimely death.
The teens were believed to be involved in the Aug. 2020 death of 30-year-old David Vasquez. Mesa police said McNeil was seen on surveillance footage fatally shooting Vasquez in a hotel parking lot after he approached the teen with a shotgun. Quintero was at the hotel at the time of the shooting and they both fled, police said.
The shooting was ultimately deemed self-defense and neither of the teens were charged in connection with Vasquez's death. Their plea agreements also ban the Mesa Police Department and Maricopa County Attorney's Office from ever charging them in the case.
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Chandler police said the pai shot and killed Patton in Sept. 2020 after sneaking into her garage behind her in an attempt to steal her car. Patton served nearly four years in the U.S. Army, which included a tour to Iraq, her mom, Marilyn Suchla previously told The Arizona Republic.
It wasn't until Patton's murder that authorities were able to connect the series of violent crimes to McNeil and Quintero. They were arrested separately on Sept. 22, 2020, and charged as adults.
Quintero turned 18 in May and McNeil turns 18 in October.
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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Teens sentenced to nearly 40 years in prison