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Gang member gets 36 years in prison for beating man to death with hammer

Matthew Mejia appears in Kern County court in Bakersfield, Calif., Thursday, July 6, 2017, to be sentenced for beating a man to death with a hammer. (KBAK/KBFX photo)

A man who beat someone to death with a hammer was sentenced Thursday to 36 years in prison.

Matthew Mejia pleaded no contest in June to voluntary manslaughter and other crimes.

Prosecutors say two years ago, Mejia and other gang members accused Justin Brewer of stealing two cellphones in a house frequented by drug users.

Brewer was tied to a chair but he managed to get free twice. The second time, he fought with Mejia and others.

Prosecutors say Mejia grabbed a hammer and beat him to death.

The body was dumped in an orchard and burned. Farmworkers discovered it.

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Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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