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A Key West man was sentenced to 25 years in state prison for a 2015 shooting that left the victim paralyzed from the waist down.
Anthony Valdes, 43, appeared in court Tuesday before Judge Mark Jones, who handed down the mandatory minimum sentence for aggravated battery. Valdes must serve five years of probation after he is released.
The mandatory sentence is for Valdes possessing and firing a gun causing “great bodily harm,” according to the law.
The shooting happened Oct. 15, 2015, after the victim, Ray Anthony Alvarez, 31, admittedly stole $500 from the defendant’s family — money Alvarez said he returned before leaving. Valdes said Alvarez was trying to run off with his cash and it was all the money they had.
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Valdes called it self-defense, saying Alvarez had him in a choke hold during a struggle, but the jury found he wasn’t justified when he fired twice into Alvarez, a friend whom he knew as “Bubba,” outside Valdes’ home on Duck Avenue.
Because of the injuries caused by Valdes, Alvarez says he now relies on a wheelchair. He needs help with the basics of living such as going to the bathroom, bathing and dressing.
“Mr. Valdes has ruined my life,” Alvarez testified Tuesday. “I wake up in pain, I go to bed in pain…It’s just an ongoing battle.”
Jones said the shooting affected the two men’s families as well and that there were no winners in this case.
Prosecutors wanted Valdes convicted as charged — with attempted second-degree murder.
But the jury on Feb. 15 said Valdes committed aggravated battery for putting a bullet in Alvarez’s back, which paralyzed him instantly, and then shooting him in the leg.
Valdes is already on drug offender probation, which started last year, until 2021, for selling drugs in 2015.