COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A Colorado judge on Friday sentenced a man to 74 years in prison for the shooting death of a U.S. Army officer, a killing the judge said was committed at random and for “fun.”
Fourth Judicial District Chief William Bain referred to Capt. Daniel Chamberlain Lehman’s parents, who were in the courtroom, as he admonished Gilberto Chavez Jr. for killing “a wholly innocent victim.”
“There’s no closure because this case is over,” Bain said. “Every day, they’re going to live with the fact that you killed their son for no other reason than it would be fun.”
Lehman, a 28-year-old officer at Fort Carson who was from Santa Fe, New Mexico, was shot in downtown Colorado Springs while walking home in September 2018.
Officials said Chavez was under the influence of drugs and trial testimony suggested he had wanted to “take someone out,” for unexplained reasons. He tattooed the outline of a body on his back and started calling himself “Gilly the Kid” on social media, prosecutors said.
Chavez unsuccessfully argued that he acted in self-defense after Lehman “came at him.” In October, a jury convicted him of second-degree murder.
He declined to address the court or Lehman’s parents at Friday’s hearing.
Lehman’s mother, Laurie Chamberlain Lehman, said her son — a West Point graduate and Army intelligence officer — was a “humble genius” and had been on a promising career path.
“If I believed in heaven, I’d go there to be with him in a second,” she said.