Redbridge resident sobs as her shooter is sentenced
by Denise Ellen Rizzo
May 14, 2014 | 7451 views | 8 8 comments | 40 40 recommendations | email to a friend | print

STOCKTON — Sobbing, Nikki Mello confronted the man who shot her in her Tracy backyard last year before he was sentenced to 20 years in prison Wednesday in San Joaquin County Superior Court.

Judge Franklin Stephenson sentenced Angelo Alex Abila, 20, to the two-decade term Abila had agreed to in a February deal with the district attorney’s office.

Abila pleaded guilty to committing assault with a firearm, using a firearm in the act of a felony, inflicting great bodily injury and committing a crime on the behalf of a criminal street gang.

He shot Mello in her backyard on the 2800 block of Redbridge Road while she was breaking up a party in the early morning hours of March 16, 2013.

Although Abila is trying to withdraw his guilty plea, Stephenson said Wednesday that there was good cause to proceed with the sentencing for the sake of the 18-year-old victim.

Mello started with a strong voice but was soon crying as she addressed Abila in the courtroom.

“A year ago, part of my life was taken away from me,” she said. “I just can’t have a normal life. I wake up and wonder if I’m alive or not. I just want it to be over with.”

Mello said she had forgiven Abila for his actions after he agreed to plead guilty, but she said it felt like a slap in the face when he told the court he wanted to withdraw that plea April 7.

As Abila sat motionless, Stephenson read his charges and told him he was being sentenced to 20 years in prison, as agreed. He must serve 85 percent of his sentence before becoming eligible for parole and must register as a gang participant, and a strike will appear on his criminal record.

Because Abila and his new attorney, Peter King, are fighting to withdraw his plea, the judge scheduled a hearing at 10 a.m. May 22 to examine the motions filed by the defense.

Outside the courtroom, Mello said she was relieved to have completed her statement to the court.

“I had a tough time talking to him,” she said. “I’m glad it’s over. He has no remorse. I want to make sure this sentence sticks.”

Mello said the bullet that entered her back more than a year ago remains in her body. She said that although she has learned to live with it, her everyday activities are still hindered by the wound.

Deputy District Attorney Donald Vaughn summed up the case in the court hallway by saying, “This is just another example of gang violence and how it affects our community and normal citizens’ lives.”

“I was able to prosecute him because people came forward and told the truth,” he added. “That’s what made the difference. It was good evidence.”

Abila will remain in San Joaquin County Jail until his new motions are resolved, Vaughn said.

• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at drizzo@tracypress.com or 830-4225.

Comments
(8)
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Tracyparent
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May 15, 2014
I'm really sorry, I believe the intent of my comment was misunderstood. I do agree that crime happens everywhere- that no one neighborhood is immune to it. We see that nationwide in Everytown USA. I merely intended to point out that the girl should have been the focus of the story, first and foremost. I agree that they neighborhood should be mentioned in the article, I just didn't think it was necessary to make it the first word in the headline. To me, it takes away from the severity of the event. In the end, I am glad that they young lady has some peace of mind knowing that the shooter will be locked up for a long time.
Tracyparent
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May 14, 2014
Why does the Headline have to say "Redbridge?" How about "Resident sobs as her shooter is sentenced." It is irrelevant WHERE she lived... what is relevant is THAT she lived.
storkfmny
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May 15, 2014
Yeah, I see what you mean. We would never EVER have thought there was crime in Redbridge.
rayderfan
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May 15, 2014
Could it have anything to do with the fact that "She lives in Redbridge" and that "The incident happened in Redbridge"?

rayderfan
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May 15, 2014
Besides, when asked, most residents of Redbridge do not hestitate to let everyone know what neighborhood they live in when asked where they live.

You can't have it both ways. If you live in Redbridge and crime happens in Redbridge then expect it to be reported as such.

Anyway, there's never any crime in the Stepford, oops I mean Redbridge, neighborhood. At least not since that kid broke into the club house, started a fire then vandalized the place.

You folks from "Redbridge" are amusing.
1resident
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May 15, 2014
When violent crime occurs, there is nothing more relevant than where it occurs. I'm 100% certain that there are numerous other activities going on in Redbridge that would simply mortify you Tracyparent......
Icare!
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May 15, 2014
radah' fans amuse me, in fact the raiders crack me up year after year
rayderfan
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May 15, 2014
I know what you mean Icare!

The raduh fans amuse me too. In fact the raduhs make me laugh on a weekly basis. That's why I chose the name.


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