Despite no murder conviction, two Lincoln men have been sentenced for their roles in the shooting death of Tyler Schoenrock. His family says this will finally give them a sense of closure.
"Tyler's son will never have a father," Schoenrock's father, Merrell, said. "That's the biggest tragedy in all of this."
Adrian Casares, 21, was sentenced to life in prison. Casares plead no contest to aiding and abetting second degree murder in February. Miguel Castillo, 24, was given 55-70 years in prison with a chance of parole in 30 years. Castillo plead guilty in February to aiding and abetting in the use of a firearm to commit a felony and to being an accessory.
Schoenrock's body was found on a road north of Lincoln on December 30, 2012. Prosecutors say he had been shot execution style; twice in the back and once in the back of the head.
The judge called it a difficult case and said it was clear to him that all witnesses and suspects involved, lied. He opened each sentencing by stating the facts he thought he knew.
He believed that in the days leading up to the murder, Castillo and Casares had been heavily using alcohol and drugs, including methamphetamine. The judge also thought Casares and Castillo became angry with Schoenrock after they found out he was giving information to law enforcement.
"Tyler was a great son," his father said. "He tried really hard to get his life turned around and corrected."
Still, the judge was unable to determine who pulled the trigger.
Schoenrock's brother, Dalton, expressed compassion toward the two men sentenced.
"You could take away their sentences if you could guarantee a change in their heart," he said. "That's all that really matters. It's so hard for family to say goodbye to family."
Casares' family showed up to court in shirts that read, "Free Adrian." His aunt, Lisa Casares, said it was a tragedy because now three lives had been taken away.
"We also lost a loved one, so neither side wins," she said. "For what [Adrian's] done, I know he's really sorry for it."
She said the family intends to appeal the sentence.