Daniel Alex Rocero, a member of the Norteños gang, was sentenced for second-degree murder in the killing of Libertarian activist Keenan Wegener, 27, whose body Rocero stuffed into a tote on Kalgin Street on March 20, 2022.
The evidence at trial showed Wegener sustained serious physical injuries and that Rocero had placed his foot across Wegener’s chest and neck, strangling him to death before hiding his body, the Department of Law said.
Wegener, an Alaskan from the Kenai Peninsula, was a member of a Libertarian civic group called Students For Liberty.
“Keenan was the friendliest person you’d ever have known. I don’t truly know what the last couple of years were like for him, but he deserved a long full life, and I’m heartbroken for his family and friends,” the group wrote in March of 2022, upon learning of his death.
“He was there with us at our regional conferences, top leadership retreats, ISFLCs, and LibertyCons. We remember when he first came to ISFLC in Washington D.C., totally new to SFL, and a group of us were preparing to go outside monument hopping. We saw him there and, being the very outgoing guy we’d soon come to know, he approached us and started a friendly chat asking about how he could become a part of Students For Liberty. We were excited to have an eager recruit. He joined a few months later in the summer of 2016,” the group wrote in its memorial. “Keenan was a big personality that we will forever miss.”
Anchorage Superior Court Judge Peter Ramgren said it was among the most serious of second-degree murders and that Rocero cannot be rehabilitated. Rocero was sentenced to 50 years for the murder and two years for tampering with evidence. Another man allegedly involved with the murder, Adam D. Pringle, 39, was also arrested in connection with the case and indicted by a jury.
The Norteños gang’s membership is made up of primarily Mexican-Americans, and its base is in central California, as well as in prisons. It has a long-standing war with another Mexican-American gang, the Sureños, of Southern California.
The Norteños are known for their extreme brutality. On Feb. 3, 2023, two alleged Norteño gang members were arrested for the Jan. 16 murders of six people in Goshen, Calif. The victims included a 16-year-old mother, and her 10-month old baby, both who were shot in the head after the mother ran to escape the gang members and tried to protect her baby by dropping him over a fence and then jumping over the fence herself, only to be executed with her baby.