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Paul Harris sentenced in fatal drive-by shooting of pregnant woman in St. Paul

Paul Harris sentenced to 38 years in prison for fatally shooting pregnant woman
Paul Harris sentenced to 38 years in prison for fatally shooting pregnant woman 01:40

ST. PAUL, Minn. — A 24-year-old man has been sentenced for fatally shooting a pregnant woman in St. Paul earlier this year.

Paul Dwayne Harris appeared in court on Thursday where he learned his sentence of 463 months — over 38 years — in prison in connection to the March 13 shooting. Harris will also need to pay $7,500 in funeral costs. 

According to the criminal complaint, Gabriella Dehoyos, 21, was traveling in a car with her boyfriend, friend and three young children near the intersection of Marion Street and St. Anthony Avenue when a passing car shot into their vehicle, striking Dehoyos in the head.

Dehoyos' boyfriend brought her to Regions Hospital where she later died from her injuries. Doctors noted her condition at the time of death included an early gestational pregnancy.

In an interview with police, Dehoyos' boyfriend said he was waiting to make a left turn into Marion Street when a silver Ford sedan pulled up to the passenger side of his vehicle. He looked over at the car and saw the driver pointing a handgun in his direction. He recognized the man as Harris.

He said when he saw the gun, he ducked down and "yanked the wheel" to the left, turning south onto Marion Street. He then heard the back passenger window shatter and told police that's how he knew Harris had fired his gun.

Officers found a spent shell casing in the area of the shooting. Video footage also allegedly confirms Dehoysos' boyfriend's description of events.

In a later interview with police, Harris denied knowing anything about the shooting and said he was at work for most of the morning but did not remember after that.

Harris confirmed to investigators several Facebook photos were his, including a recent one showing a handgun similar to the one described by Dehoyos' boyfriend to police on the day of the shooting.

In court Thursday, Dehoyos' parents gave victim impact statements. 

 "We're the ones that have to live a life sentence without Gabriella when it really should be Paul. I feel no sympathy for your soul," Gabriella's father said. "You were out to kill that day, just not her. You had a chance to see everybody in that car before you took those shots."

Dehoyos' mother said that one of the children was three years old at the time of the shooting and will remember it for the rest of her life. 

Harris was initially charged with one count each of second-degree murder, second-degree assault and illegal possession of a firearm. He pleaded guilty to killing Dehoyos in September. 

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