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Two men sentenced in drug dealer's 2011 killing

A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge on Thursday sentenced two men to life in prison without parole in the 2011 killing of a 38-year-old man in Kagel Canyon.

Stuart Rubio, a 34-year-old Latino, and Heriberto Valenzuela, a 33-year-old Latino, were convicted July 17 of killing and robbing Robert Hendrix, 38. Prosecutors plan to retry two other defendants, Melissa Soto, 27, and Josh Rogers, 27, in Hendrix’s killing.

Rubio and Valenzuela were at a party before driving to Hendrix’s Kagel Canyon home to rob him about 3 a.m.

Hendrix, who was a drug dealer in the area, would sometimes exchange stolen property, such as watches and rings, for drugs.

Witnesses testified that Rubio bragged about the killing and was in possession of weapons used in the slaying. When Valenzuela was arrested, deputies recovered property belonging to Hendrix. In addition, a shoe left at the scene had Valenzuela’s and Hendrix’s DNA.

Shortly before Judge Stephen A. Marcus sentenced Rubio and Valenzuela, Hendrix’s brother, Richie Hendrix, made a statement to the court.

Richie Hendrix said he felt “utter disgust” with the crime.

“You’ve not only affected my family; you’ve affected your family and everyone around you,” he said.

Richie Hendrix said that his father is “beside himself” and can’t talk about his son.

After Richie Hendrix spoke, Marcus called the killing “a horrible crime.”

“It’s just shocking to me that someone would kill someone for some jewelry and a little bit of money,” Marcus said in court.

Robert Hendrix was described by family members as a outgoing man who loved dogs and karaoke.

“You would consider him one of those gentle giant guys,” Richie Hendrix previously told The Times. “Just a real big dude with a real soft heart.”

Hendrix said that he wanted his brother to move to Pennsylvania with him.

“He was just in a bad place in his life, and he was trying to work to get out of that,” he said.

Sometimes, Robert Hendrix would show up at his stepmother’s front door and sleep on the couch for a couple days, said Sheila Andrews of Tujunga.

He talked about becoming a chef at one point, and when he attended Andrews’ retirement party more than a decade ago, he was charming.

“He could hold his own with all those salespeople,” she said.

Tina Indalecio, his cousin, grew up with Robert Hendrix. Indalecio said he was a great football player and planned to attend college. After Robert Hendrix's mother was killed in 1993 in Alaska, he veered off track.

“It was too late for him,” she said. “Maybe it won’t be too late for other people.”

A couple months before he was killed, Robert Hendrix hand wrote a one-page poem, titled “Wasted Time,” to his wife, Cristina Hendrix.

“It’s time that I change and get on with my life, fulfilling my dreams and bury the pipe,” he wrote.

“I pray I can make it, I at least have to try, because I’m heading toward death, and I’m not ready to die.”

-- Nicole Santa Cruz

Photo: Robert Hendrix. Credit: Courtesy of Richie Hendrix

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