As the leader of a Colorado Springs drug ring, Jorge "Bird" Galvan-Flores survived by funneling small amounts of meth to a roster of homeless addicts.
Despite what a judge called his "small potatoes drug operation," he responded with shocking brutality when one of his street pushers slipped up on the job - leading a trio of gunmen in pumping more than a dozen pistol rounds into Lawrence Gloster II, 23, as he knelt begging for his life in an abandoned ranch building east of the city.
"This was a premeditated, execution-style killing in which the punishment bore no relation to the offense, which was being sloppy with $150 worth of drugs," 4th Judicial District Judge Eric Bentley said Tuesday in ordering Galvan-Flores to serve life in prison without the chance of parole.
Galvan-Flores, 35, accepted his punishment in silence an hour after an El Paso County jury convicted him on all counts in the April 6, 2017, drug killing, capping a weeklong trial.
He displayed little reaction as the judge described his "pointless" and "repugnant" crimes, having refused the Spanish language interpreters who had translated testimony during his trial.
"We're very grateful to the jury, and we feel that justice was done," said lead prosecutor Brien Cecil, who tried the case with Christina Husman.
Two others charged in the execution, Anthony Loya and Israel Jimenez-Roldan, face trials in April and May.
The guilty verdicts came after about five hours of deliberation by a 10-woman, two-man jury, which ultimately rejected arguments by public defenders Kelly McCullough and Zulfi Wafai. They sought to persuade the panel that he'd been railroaded by his teenage nephew, a key witness against him at trial.
The boy, now 16, took the stand and provided a wrenching eyewitness account of Gloster's death in a hail of gunfire.
The teen testified that he drove the Dodge Neon that delivered a shoeless Gloster to the execution site, an old adobe building off U.S. 24 between Calhan and Peyton.
There, the boy stood back with a friend, also then 15, as Galvan-Flores and two drug-world associates ignored Gloster's pleas for mercy. Gloster died on his knees - the victim of 13 gunshots. A 14th round lodged in his belt buckle, testimony showed.
According to prosecutors, Gloster was targeted for inadvertently dropping a half-ounce of methamphetamine into a customer's lap and then lying about it to his boss - the latest mistake in a rocky span as a small-time, street-level meth dealer.
His mother, Theresa Gloster, of Northport, Fla., testified that her son was a two-time survivor of Hodgkin lymphoma who moved to Colorado for access to medicinal marijuana.
Before becoming addicted to meth himself, and falling in with Galvan-Flores, he was an adventure seeker who enjoyed mountain biking, fishing and snowboarding, says an obituary in the Tribune-Democrat of Johnstown, Pa., where he grew up before his family moved to Florida while he was in high school.
He is remembered as a "kind-hearted person who loved spending time with his family and friends," the obituary said.
Gloster's parents and sister attended the trial's opening but returned home later in the week, overwhelmed by details of the "torture" Gloster suffered before his death and "the pure evil that listened in this courtroom with no remorse," Theresa Gloster said at sentencing via a conference call.
"We will pray for forgiveness because we cannot forgive this act," his mother added.