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Family of fallen officers react to death sentence for cop killer

“I didn’t want to get out of bed this morning. I couldn’t believe that I was talking about my sister’s murder this morning. I still have trouble understanding that, why she’s gone,” said Britta Kling, the sister of Officer Lesley Zerebny.

On Oct. 8, 2016, John Hernandez Felix, 28, shot and killed Palm Springs Officers Jose “Gil” Vega, 63, and Lesley Zerebny, 27, while they were responding to a domestic disturbance call at the Felix family home on the 2700 block of Cypress Avenue.

All our coverage on Vega and Zerebny & the Felix Trial

In May 2019, a jury found Felix guilty on all 11 counts, which included first-degree murder for killing Vega and Zerebny, as well as the attempted murder of six other PSPD officers. A jury recommended the death penalty for Felix, and on Friday afternoon, the judge officially sentenced Felix to death.

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For Zerebny and Vega’s loved ones, a death sentence for their murder doesn’t make things any easier, but it’s the sentence they’ve waited years to see

“Relief, relief we got justice, as far as what California brings, we got what we wanted,” said Isaac Vega, son of Officer Vega.

Zerebny’s father, David Kling, only skipped one day of the weeks-long trial, the day her bullet wounds were shown.

“I wouldn’t have missed it for the world because it’s part of the process and it’s something that Lesley would want me to do,” David said.

David and his family now looking forward to moving past.

“We’re all very glad this process is over. This is the last that I’m dealing with this,” Britta said. “It’s just time to move on and live for my sister, for her daughter.”

During the sentencing, David took the opportunity to speak directly to Felix.

“I started out by just looking at him and he wouldn’t look at me cause he’s such a coward,” David said.

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Members of Vega and Zerebny’s families got a chance to speak at the sentencing.

“It was needed I think they really wanted to get some of that off their chest,” Issac said.

Felix had a visible smirk and winked and the officers’ family members.

“Oh, he laughed, he winked at my dad, he smiled. He did not care, he didn’t care one single bit and that is why I wish the worst for him,” Britta said.

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“That’s exactly what he deserves and more, but we are very happy about the verdict and the way this entire trial has gone,” David said.

There will be an automatic appeal, and John Dolan, Felix’s attorney, says he will file an appeal within 60 days.

Stay with News Channel 3 for continuing coverage.

KESQ News Team

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