But now he will spend more than 40 years in prison after being sentenced Friday for the murder of 18-year-old Devin Topps, a Kent football athlete, on Halloween 2010.
A King County Superior Court Judge sentenced Lizarraga to the high end of the standard range - 33 years - for a person with Lizarraga's criminal history, which already included more than 15 convictions and a 13-month stint in prison for a previous burglary. Another five years for a firearm violation was added to the sentence.
This, on top of the seven-year sentence Lizarraga is already serving for separate convictions.
A trial jury found Lizarraga guilty in December of six counts: second-degree murder, two counts of first-degree illegal firearm possession, residential burglary, firearm theft and stolen firearm possession. The trial lasted two months.
Lizarraga fatally shot Topps at a Halloween party in Kent more than three years ago, reportedly during a fight.
He told friends about the incident afterward, showing them TV news coverage about the homicide, according to court documents.
Nearly two months later, police searched a motel room where Lizarraga was staying. Two stolen firearms were found, one of which Lizarraga stole from a state trooper while breaking into his house.
As a convicted felon he was barred from possessing any guns.
About 20 family members and friends of Topps packed the courtroom Friday afternoon to witness the sentencing. Photos of him were posted throughout the courtroom.
He was known as a popular Kentridge High School football player, whose memorial after he died attracted 1,000 people.
Prosecutor Jessica Berliner asked Judge Patrick Oishi to impose the top of the standard sentencing range, citing Lizarraga's "shocking lack of remorse."
"There just is simply nothing in his behavior that warrants anything but the high end," she told the court, adding that Lizarraga displayed a "lack of regard for humanity."
She went on to read his college application to Eastern Washington University, in which Topps described his dreams to become a college football player and his history of overcoming obstacles to become a college-bound student.
Topps' cousin, grandmother and father spoke to the court, as well.
"Devin never could do no wrong," his grandmother said. "He was a beautiful gift from God."
His father spoke directly to Lizarraga.
"Somebody said that Devin was special," he said, looking at Lizarraga. "You are special, too.
"I continue to pray that you become strong," he added. "You remember that Devin's dad forgives you. I hope that you forgive yourself."
Lizarraga's attorney asked for the low end of the sentencing range, about 25 years, saying that Lizarraga has a bright future ahead of him once he gets out of prison.
Lizarraga declined to address the court, himself.
Oishi, after complimenting Lizarraga's politeness and manner throughout the trial, said he committed a "senseless and tragic murder."
"Your actions forever changed a lot of lives," he added.
Calling Lizarraga an "extreme danger to society," he opted to impose the 33 years, in addition to the five-year penalty.
Lizarraga's previous convictions as a juvenile and adult include possessions of stolen property, vehicle theft and multiple burglary convictions. He had several charges against him pending at the time of the shooting for additional crimes.