Sometimes love isn’t enough.

A Santa Rosa man receiving a 17-year prison sentence Thursday for a 2010 slaying was denied a hug from his mom before he was led away.

Cesar Chavez, 23, was one of two gang members convicted of killing Bounnoi Douangmeechit, 25, outside his sister’s Pearblossom Drive birthday party.

Chavez and Edward Sciutto, 25, were convicted of voluntary manslaughter for getting in a deadly knife fight after a guest was disrespectful to a friend.

After Judge Gary Medvigy handed down his sentence, Chavez asked through his lawyer, Joe Passalacqua, if he could hug his mother, who was seated in the audience along with a dozen others.

Medvigy left it up to court deputies, who turned down the request, and quickly led Chavez away.

His mother wailed in the hallway as relatives gathered around.

The drama followed pleas for leniency from Chavez that relied, in part, on a promise of family support.

Passalacqua argued that despite the tragic killing and gang involvement, Chavez should be allowed probation instead of prison.

He pointed out that the family’s pastor was in the audience.

But prosecutor Victoria Shanahan pushed for the recommended 21-year term. Sciutto was to get his punishment later today.

Shanahan argued that if Chavez had the backing of his family he wouldn’t be in jail today.

“If he had such great family support, why did he need to join a criminal street gang?” she said to the judge.

Medvigy denied the request for probation but cut his sentence to 17 years, in part because of his youth and lack of a serious prior record.



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