Professional Dancer's Killer Sentenced to 26 Years to Life

A West Covina man who murdered a 27-year-old professional dancer with an ax and dumped his body in a remote area of Azusa Canyon was sentenced Monday to 26 years to life in prison.

Phillip Von Wade, 22, pleaded no contest in April to first-degree murder in the Sept. 5, 2016, killing of Rahkeem "Rocky" Reyes.

Prosecutors said Reyes -- an acquaintance of Wade's -- had commissioned him to create a Batman costume for the annual Comic-Con convention, and Wade had missed the deadline and a second deadline was approaching without the costume being completed. Wade lured Reyes to his home, where he killed him with an ax. Reyes' body was discovered 2 1/2 miles up Azusa Canyon five days later.

Reyes was a professional dancer who had appeared in several dance videos, movies and commercials, in addition to live stage performances, according to a family friend.

Wade spoke during court saying how sorry he was. But the words fell flat for the victim's family.

"We'll never get over it," said the victim's sister, Tamiko, outside court. "We'll never get past it. You just learn to live with the pain."

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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