Teen pleads guilty in death of another teen near Iowa school

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A teenager pleaded guilty Tuesday in the drive-by shooting death of another teen outside a Des Moines, Iowa, high school and was sentenced to a life prison term with the possibility of parole.

Romeo Perdomo, 17, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the March 7, 2022, death of Jose Lopez-Perez, 15, outside East High School. That plea followed a deal in which prosecutors dismissed other charges and recommended a life sentence with a possibility of parole, according to the Des Moines Register. Adults convicted of first-degree murder in Iowa are required to spend the rest of their lives in prison but judges can give juveniles a chance at parole.

Judge Lawrence McLellan gave Perdomo the life sentence with no requirement on the time he must serve in prison, telling him, “I hope you use this opportunity to fully understand the consequences you have created, the pain you have created, the grief you have created.”

Perdomo was among 10 teens charged in the death of Lopez-Perez and the wounding of two girls. According to court filings, at least eight of those charged plan to plead guilty and one has been sentenced.

Police investigators blamed the shooting on a dispute between rival gang members, and video evidence showed teens getting into three vehicles and driving by the school, where they sprayed at least 42 bullets from six guns.