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Man linked to murder by tattoo sentenced to prison

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A gang member who was linked to a 2004 murder by an elaborate tattoo on his chest that authorities say memorialized the crime scene was sentenced on Thursday to 65 years to life in prison.

Anthony Garcia, 25, was convicted of murder in April in the January 23, 2004 shooting death of 23-year-old John Juarez outside a liquor store in the Los Angeles suburb of Pico Rivera.

Garcia was first suspected in the killing of Juarez after he was arrested in 2008 for driving on a suspended license and a detective noticed his tattoo, which shows a peanut man being shot by a helicopter outside a store.

Prosecutors say the helicopter represents Garcia, whose gang nickname is "Chopper," and that "peanut" is a derogatory term for a rival gang.

"This is completely one-of-a-kind," Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Brock Lunsford said of the tattoo.

During the sentencing hearing Michelle Sotelo, the mother of the victim's daughter, told Garcia that he should blame only himself.

"You were stupid enough to get the tattoo that convicted you," Sotelo said. "I'm not going to say I forgive you because I don't. It's going to take me a long time to think about forgiving you."

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Greg McCune)