Two brothers charged with fatally shooting a Tacoma man after he complained they were too noisy and pulled a knife were sentenced to prison Friday.
Rene Henry Valderas, 27, and Anthony Lee Valencia Jr., 22, apologized in court to the family of 39-year-old Maluelue “Lue” Fitiao for his death.
Each pleaded guilty earlier this month to second-degree manslaughter and unlawful gun possession. Valderas also pleaded guilty to third-degree assault.
Pierce County Superior Court Judge Kitty-Ann van Doorninck gave Valencia five years, seven months in prison; Valderas got seven years, three months.
Both were low-end sentences recommended by deputy prosecutor John Neeb.
Police said Valderas, Valencia and others were at Fitiao’s apartment visiting his roommate March 13, and Fitiao complained several times that the group was too loud.
At some point, Fitiao shouted for everyone to leave, and pulled out a folding knife, investigators said.
Things kept escalating, according to charging papers, and when Fitiao swung a knife at Valderas, he and Valencia fired guns.
Family members told the judge Fitiao was a mama’s boy who loved to sing, and enjoyed spending time with children. He was one of six kids, and he leaves behind four children of his own, ages 7 to 13.
Loved ones thought mostly local family members would attend his memorial, but the church was filled with friends from his childhood, high school and elsewhere.
His family was distraught throughout the sentencing. Many cried and some had to leave the courtroom at times. Some wore shirts with Fitiao’s photo on the front.
“He was huge in size, but had the most loving heart,” his mother, Naomi Fitiao, wrote in a letter to the court. His sister Ruta Patalesio read the note to the judge.
Another sister, Diana Rivas, said her brother went through a rough patch of depression and made some bad choices, but that he grew up in a loving, Christian home.
“Who were you to play God and take his life?” she asked Valderas and Valencia.
But she said she believed her family had to find forgiveness.
It wasn’t easy, Rivas said, but she had.