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Brothers sentenced in murders of 2 teens

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) -- Two teenage brothers convicted of voluntary manslaughter in the Fresno shooting deaths of two other teens were ordered Monday to serve time in prison.

A Fresno County judge sentenced 19-year-old Jarrad Beard to 34 years in prison and his 16-year-old brother, Jerry Beard, to 10 years, the Fresno Bee reported (http://bit.ly/VPBM6f ).

The brothers' sentencings come after a jury in November found Jarrad Beard guilty of voluntary manslaughter for the shooting deaths of 18-year-old Justin Hesketh and 16-year-old Brandon Moore last December. Jerry Beard was only convicted in Hesketh's death.

During the trial, prosecutors told the jury that the shooting was sparked by a confrontation that started when Hesketh and Moore exchanged dirty looks with the Beard brothers at a crosswalk.

The confrontation led to the shootings after a chase into a nearby apartment complex.

Defense attorneys for the brothers argued self-defense, because the victims were high on methamphetamine.

Court records showed the Beard brothers had smoked marijuana before and after the shooting.

Judge Denise Whitehead criticized the brothers' callousness, according to the Bee. After shooting Moore and Hesketh, the two went home to smoke marijuana and play video games instead of seeking help for the victims.

The judge found that Jerry Beard accepted responsibility when questioned by police and that the only shot he fired wasn't fatal.

Jarrad Beard's lawyer, Phillip Cherney, said his client filed a notice of appeal Monday.

Debie Hesketh, the mother of one of the victims, said she's still perplexed by the motive for the crime.

“I still can't believe my son was killed over dirty looks,” Hesketh told the Bee. “If each person shot everyone who gave them dirty looks, there would be nobody left alive.”

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Information from: The Fresno Bee, http://www.fresnobee.com

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