Community of Alton Reacts to Life in Prison Sentence

Maribel Montoya has lived on Minnesota road just outside Alton for years. She said she'll never forget the horror that happened just down the road, on December 6, 2008.

"You know these things happen, but you never really think that's it's going to happen so close to you," Maribel Montoya said.

That night Roberto Rojas shot and killed his own 3-year-old son Osiel Rojas, his step-sons, 6-year-old Sylvestre Garza and 8-year-old Mauro Garza, as well as his 45-year-old mother-in-law Amelia Flores.Rojas also shot his estranged wife Amelia Rojas, twice in the stomach, then beat her with the rifle. However, she managed to survive.

Prosecutors in Hidalgo County pushed for the death penalty against Rojas, but a jury decided the crime didn't merit that punishment.

Instead, they sentenced Rojas to life in prison without parole.

"Logically, as outsiders, we would've wanted the death penalty, Montoya said. But there's nothing worse than living with our own conscience. Right now, he's being judged by people, the judge - one day even by God - but his worst critic will be himself."

Cristina Hernandez said the jury shouldn't have spared Roja's life and strongly disagrees with his attorneys' argument that Rojas is not a violent man.

"After killing four people, I TMd say he's a pretty violent man, Hernandez said. Someone who is not violent doesn't end his own family's life like he did."

Some Alton residents said that no matter what the verdict, whether life in prison or the death penalty, the lives Rojas took will never come back, there for justice can never really be served.

"He should've never done what he did, Mari Paz Barrera said. Families are supposed to support and help each other - he was no one to have taken those lives. Only God is supposed to take lives - it's not our right."