Courts & Crime

Paralyzed Bradenton teen sentenced in home invasion crime

BRADENTON — Family members of a woman gunned down in her home last year shed tears and embraced each other outside Manatee County Judicial Center after a judge sentenced a paralyzed teen gunman to life in prison.

“I just want to thank God. There’s justice now,” said Maria Rangel, whose mother, 55-year-old Maria Lerma, was shot to death in a botched home invasion in February 2009.

The gunman, Ta Heem Blake, is now a quadriplegic after one of Lerma’s sons opened fire with a .380-caliber handgun. Blake was found guilty of first-degree murder and other charges. Circuit Court Judge Debra Riva sentenced him to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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