Fugitive Sentenced for 1994 Murder

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    A man called one of the commonwealth's 10-most-wanted fugitives has been sentenced to 10 to 20 years in prison in the stabbing death of a man during a game of dominoes nearly two decades ago in eastern Pennsylvania.

      Francisco Miranda, 50, pleaded guilty on Friday in Northampton County Court to third-degree murder in the death of 30-year-old Jorge Antonio Velazquez, who was stabbed in the chest during a 1994 game of dominoes in Bethlehem.
     
    The (Easton) Express-Times says Miranda apologized before he was sentenced to what was the maximum term for the charge at the time of the crime.
     
    He said through an interpreter "I feel very bad what happened. ... I am a person who has repented for what I did.''
     
    Authorities said Miranda was arrested at his mother's house in the Dominican Republic in November.
     
    Defense attorney Rory Driscole said after the hearing that New Jersey officials unwittingly sent Miranda out of the country weeks after the murder after he was arrested on drug charges under another name.
     
    Rene Velazquez, the victim's younger brother, said the family didn't believe Miranda was sincere and didn't fully approve of the terms of the sentence but accepted it because it would bring closure to the case.
     
    "We feel this is more damage control on his part,'' he said. "If he was truly remorseful, he would have turned himself in a long time ago.''
     
    Maria Velazquez, his younger sister, said she was grateful that Miranda had finally been brought to justice.
     
    "I didn't think nobody cared or nobody would do anything about it,'' she said.