“His conduct was inexcusable,” Judge John Ramsey Johnson said at the sentencing. “I think Mr. Mills was angry that day and he took out his anger on poor Mr. Paredes.”
According to evidence and witness testimonies, Paredes, 45, was with friends on the afternoon of Saturday, Jan. 14, 2012, on the sidewalk near the intersection of Park Road and 14th Street Northwest, when Mills a local street vendor grabbed a long 15 pound barbell and hit him repeatedly on the head and stomach.
“This man killed my son for no reason, he beat him savagely like an animal,” Paredes’ mother, Zolia Paredes, said. “No one deserves to die like that.”
At the sentencing hearing today Mills gave his condolences to Paredes’ crying mother and said he was acting in self-defense. Mills who is a known street vendor on Park Road told police that Paredes had threatened him with a “machete-shaped pocket knife,” and he “was afraid for his life.”
Eluopeo Argueta, Paredes’ friend who witnessed the attack, testified that Paredes never threatened Mills, and held nothing in his hands, which were by his side when Mills approached him.
During trial Argueta told jurors that when Mills hit Paredes, he fell to the ground and was bleeding from the head. Mills then approached Paredes again and hit him with the bar in a downward motion like he was swinging a baseball bat.
Paredes served in the military in his home country of El Salvador, before moving to the United States when he was 28. His mother told Homicide Watch that as a result of her son’s death, her mother (Paredes’ grandmother) also passed away.
“She just stopped eating,” Zolia Paredes said. Paredes grandmother, who was 85, helped raise him since he was 13, when his mother came to the United States to work as a housekeeper.
Mills wife was also present at sentencing today but was not allowed to speak on his behalf. She raised her hand as she sat quietly on the right side of the courtroom, “He was up there working,” she said to herself. “He wasn’t bothering nobody.”
Mills’ defense attorney described him as, “a man of great resilience,” who had overcome problems with addiction, mental health and a previous crime record when asking Judge Johnson for a lesser sentence.
After his release from prison, Mills will also serve five years of supervised release.
Mill’s sentencing documents have been added below.