Antonio Sanchez sentenced for the murder of Maddie Finch - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Antonio Sanchez sentenced for the murder of Maddie Finch

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Antonio Sanchez Antonio Sanchez
Maddie Finch Maddie Finch
CARTHAGE, Ill. (WGEM) -

As part of a plea deal, Antonio Sanchez pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of Second Degree Murder and Home Invasion on the shooting death of Madison Finch.

Sanchez was sentenced to 20 years for each count, but the terms will run concurrently.

Both second degree murder and home invasion are 20 years in prison. But the second degree charge only needs to be served 50 percent while the invasion charge needs to be served 85 percent. This means Sanchez will spend at least 17 years behind bars.

Sanchez was charged with three counts of First Degree Murder and one count of Aggravated Battery with a Weapon in the shooting death of Maddie Finch on New Year's Day.

After reading the plea deal, the Finch family approached the podium and gave their witness statements. They were emotional and about 15 minutes each. You could hear crying and sobbing in the background.

Finch's sister told the court that a day doesn't go by that she doesn't think of her. She said Maddie was her best friend and they would do a lot together. Her sister is working to become a lawyer and she says Maddie was going to become a nurse.

Her mother, Carrie Finch told Sanchez, "You changed our lives, forever and not just us, because of you, an entire community lost its innocence that night."

Carrie told Sanchez, "She had dreams. The really sad thing is she would've become your friend, the underdog. She had a future, she was going to make a difference. Maddie changed people she knew for the better." 

Jason Finch held up a picture of Maddie and gave a mean mug while doing it. He said, "This is my favorite picture of her." He went on to say, "She didn't discriminate against race or sex, or what you had, but you didn't give her that chance."

Jason went on about the word "tough" and what it means to "be a man" He said, "Look around, where are your friends, gang bangers, who is supporting you today? Oh yeah, the streets of Keokuk are tough, so I have heard. You don't know the meaning of tough."

Jason also said "look at what you've done to both parents. We didn't only lose a daughter but your parents lost a son as well. When you are a real man you don't think about yourself. You think about the ones you love."

Judge Cavanaugh got emotional before reading the sentence and he started crying. He said to Sanchez, "Your family is affected by this. My heart goes out to them. They never intended to raise a murderer and they have."

Cavanaugh said he would have been found guilty by a jury and he would have had no trouble sentencing him to the minimum number of 45 years of 45 or more.

Cavanaugh said if all actually went as planned, Sanchez could only be in prison for 17 years, which Jason Finch responded with by saying "that's less than the 19 years that Maddie was alive." Sanchez would potentially get out when he is 34 years old.

Sanchez provided a brief statement and said he was sorry and that he needs to be a man and "accept that it was his responsibility." He will be headed to the department of corrections to serve his sentence. His 253 days in Hancock County Jail already go towards it.

Carrie Finch also went on to say that she’s been deeply impacted by the loss of Maddie. Some days she can’t sleep and other times she sleeps for days. She also said she can't eat sushi or avocado because they were Maddie's favorite things.

Defense Attorney Drew Schnack told the media his case since he did not present one in court. He said Maddie held the party, an adult coming to pick up their sister tried to break it up, and then a fight occurred, and then Sanchez got pulled into the fight and someone hit him.

Schnack said what happened after that is when the trial begins. Schnack said he had witnesses that would testify that everyone fell to the ground and that the gun accidentally discharged. He said the gun was stolen out of Clark County, Missouri, from a burglary.

Schnack said, “this is a horrible situation. There was nothing anyone could have done to prevent it. And there is everything people should have done to prevent it, but it happened.”

Schnack said, “You’ve got to come to a fair resolution. I know Mr. Finch disagrees but I think that justice for Maddie and justice for AJ are the same thing.”

Schnack said “I think that’s where we ended up. It wouldn’t have been fair for us to go forward and get 60 years in prison and not fair for him to go free. We had to reach something that everyone could live with.”

Schnack went on to talk more about the emotions saying, “This is a small, tight nit community and she was well liked by everyone. That’s what made it different. Take this to Peoria, Springfield, or Quincy, it’s tragic but you don’t see the emotion of it.”

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