The man convicted in the February 2015 killing of Carlos Figueroa in Schenectady received 22 years to life this morning, at a sentencing marked by emotional statements from the victim’s family.
At the sentencing of Figueroa’s killer Carlson Nunes, the victim’s widow, Crystal Figueroa, held back tears as she told the judge about her two daughters and the impact of their father’s death has had.
“My youngest doesn’t understand that he’s not coming back,” the mother said, her voice wavering. “My oldest, I’ll catch her sitting there looking at pictures of her father and I don’t know what to tell them.”
“I just ask that justice is served for him and my family,” Crystal Figueroa concluded later.
A Schenectady County Court jury in February convicted the 24-year-old Nunes of second-degree murder and other charges in the Feb. 16, 2015, pistol-whipping and shooting death of the 26-year-old Figueroa on Paige Street.
Judge Frank P. Milano this morning sentenced Nunes to a total of 22 years to life in state prison, three years under the maximum of 25 years to life.
Milano called the shooting “senseless and unnecessary” and, addressing Nunes, said Figueroa’s death the result of “selfish, criminal and dangerous behavior — your selfish, criminal and dangerous behavior.”
Milano also called the jury’s verdict “well-supported” by the evidence.
Prosecutors contended two groups, with Nunes and Figueroa on opposing sides, arrived that night for a supposed marijuana deal.
Neither side, however, intended to go through with it — Figueroa’s group didn’t have the marijuana; Nunes’ group didn’t have the money.
Instead, they each intended to steal from the other.
Prosecutor Brian Gray recounted to the court the plot and said Nunes played a central role in the eventual outcome: Figueroa’s death. Nunes, he said, brought the gun. Figueroa’s side was out-manned and unarmed — they had come to the meeting with a bag of fake marijuana.
The introduction of the gun, Gray said, changed a robbery and assault case to a murder case.
“Every step of the way he’s the one that took it to the next level,” Gray told the judge.
Nunes’ attorney, Kathryn Conklin of Cheryl Coleman’s law office, questioned witness testimony as inconsistent, saying the court heard multiple versions of what happened.
Conklin said later she expects to appeal.
Nunes gave his own lengthy statement to the court this morning, addressing half of it directly to Figueroa’s family. He took that opportunity to repeat his self-defense claims.
“There’s not much that I can really do or say to bring him back, but I really, really, really am sorry,” Nunes said. “Understand that I was just protecting my own life.”
In a statement, Figueroa’s widow recalled her slain husband as someone who had grown into a father. She said she’s never been more proud of someone that she is of Figueroa.
“He didn’t deserve any of this and neither did my girls,” Crystal Figueroa said.
Figueroa’s father, Herman Figueroa, focused on his son and granddaughters. He called his son a good man and a good father who loved his girls.
“Now he’s not around for them,” Herman Figueroa said. “They miss him. I miss him.”
Reach Gazette reporter Steven Cook at 395-3122, email@example.com or @ByStevenCook on Twitter.