Judge mentions convicted killer’s tattoo at sentencing

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LANCASTER, PA. — A Lancaster man convicted of killing a man on a Manheim Township street proclaimed his innocence as he was sentenced Tuesday to a life in prison.

Lancaster County Judge Donald Totaro, before ordering the life term, verbally confronted Mathew Morales who refused to apologize for killing Xavier Garriga, citing “injustice.”

“This isn’t fair to me or my family,” Morales said, as Garriga’s friends and relatives listened. “I’m an innocent man.”

Before moving on to sentence Morales, Judge Totaro asked him about a tattoo he has which states “Respect Few. Fear None.”

Morales, convicted Friday of first-degree murder for the 2014 drive-by shooting, told the judge that tattoo was a poor decision he made as a youth.

“It’s just tattoos,” he told the judge.

A local jury, after hearing testimony four days, deliberated for about an hour and 15 minutes before deciding the case Friday afternoon.

Judge Totaro said he agreed with the jury’s decision, saying the evidence was “very compelling and overwhelming.”

“You did this (killing) because you felt disrespected,” Totaro said. “Because you respect few and fear none.”

Manheim Township police charged Morales with shooting Garriga, 25, from a vehicle, as Garriga walked on New Holland Avenue. The two men had exchanged words in a nearby Turkey Hill store.

“He didn’t threaten you. He didn’t harm you,” Totaro said, of Garriga, to Morales.

Assistant District Attorney Mark Fetterman, prosecuting the case with Assistant District Attorney Maria Cusick, called numerous trial witnesses including: a man who was in the car with Morales, a doctor who performed Garriga’s autopsy, and several police officers.

A store clerk testified the two men exchanged words over a “Jesus medallion” Morales was wearing.

Manheim Township police Detective Brian Freysz filed charges.

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