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Sacramento DA / Media / 2015 Archives / 4.17.15: Media Advisory: Outstanding Citizen Awards Ceremony

Media Advisory: Outstanding Citizen Awards Ceremony

National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is April 19 through 25.  This year’s theme, “Engaging Communities. Empowering Victims,” emphasizes the importance of the entire community coming together to support victims of crime and empowering them during their path to recovery. This week is a time for communities to bring attention to the devastating impact crime has on its victims.  It is also a time to show appreciation for the brave victims and witnesses who overcame fear, shame and indifference to gain a voice and fight for justice.

DA Anne Marie Schubert will honor victims and witnesses who have shown extraordinary courage throughout the criminal justice process and inspire others to contribute to the safety of our community.  A special award will also be presented to the Law Enforcement Chaplaincy, Sacramento for their dedicated service to law enforcement and citizens throughout the Sacramento region. Please join us in recognizing this year’s recipients:

 16th Annual Outstanding Citizen Awards Ceremony

Friday, April 24, 2015 ~ 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Board of Supervisors’ Chambers -700 H Street, Sacramento

Brandon Garcia & Elliott Goldstein attended a Sacramento State Golf Team party.  The defendant, Tino Perez, and his friends showed up uninvited.  Brandon Garcia, Jahi Vaughn, Dwayne Hines, Jaccari Brown and Kevin Booze were college friends who came to the party together.  They saw an argument between one of the defendant’s female friends and another male as they were leaving the party.  When the argument escalated, they intervened and broke up the argument.  The defendant asked the female what was going on, and she told him that the five college students helped her.  The defendant ignored his friend and decided to challenge the college students.  He pulled out a gun and started shooting at them, striking Dwayne, Jahi, Kevin and Jaccari.  Brandon tackled the defendant and began fighting with him to take control of the gun.  Elliott Goldstein, who was not with the five college students, saw the struggle and joined the fight.  The two men were able to take the gun away from the defendant, who then fled the scene.  The defendant was ultimately identified as the shooter and arrested.  At trial, the defense claimed the defendant was not at the party and the shooter could have been someone who looked like him.  Elliott identified the defendant with great detail and certainty, sealing the guilty verdict.  Brandon provided a detailed description of the gun used, which was critical because law enforcement found a photo of the exact same gun on the defendant’s phone that matched the cartridge casings found at the scene.  The heroic acts of these two college students likely prevented more people from being harmed and helped convict a violent criminal. Perez was convicted of 4 counts of 1st-degree premeditated attempted murder for the benefit of the Norteños criminal street gang and assault with a firearm.  He was sentenced to 160 years to life in state prison

Rona Tayag & Cassidy Samuelson were fourth graders at Greer Elementary School in 2007 when their 11-year-old classmate disclosed to them she had been sexually abused by her family member, David Allen Thompson.  Despite the victim’s extreme reluctance to talk about the abuse, Rona and Cassidy stood by their friend and provided her with the support and encouragement to disclose the information to school officials.  The victim’s report ultimately exposed the defendant’s continuous sexual abuse of the victim’s sister, which began years prior.   During the course of the investigation, Thompson kidnapped the sister from the custody of her parents and fled through several states before eventually being stopped for speeding by a Kansas state trooper.  Thompson was immediately arrested, but escaped from custody, becoming a fugitive at large.  He was arrested over a year later at a vehicle checkpoint in Texas. Thompson was extradited to Sacramento and stood trial in 2014. Despite the passage of time, both Cassidy and Rona came to court to recount their experience with their classmate on the day of her tragic disclosure.  They were both subjected to hostile cross-examination, yet remained steadfast in their conviction, recalling the events with vivid detail.  Thanks to the passion and dedication of two spirited young women, David Thompson will never sexually assault another child.  Thompson was convicted of 14 counts of lewd acts with a minor with force involving multiple victims.  He was sentenced to 65 years plus 390 years to life in state prison.  

Dan Gandy was at work when he heard a loud sound and a thump outside of the business.  He went outside to investigate and saw Toussaint Harrison lying on the ground, gasping for air with blood coming from his mouth.  He then saw a green truck, driven by defendant Joseph Leonard, in the parking lot attempting to hit Toussaint’s friend.  The truck spun around and drove in the direction of Toussaint.  Dan stood between Toussaint and the oncoming truck.  At the last second, the truck swerved and avoided hitting them.  The defendant then got out of the truck and kicked Toussaint in the face and head several times while he was still on the ground.  Fearing for Toussaint’s life, Dan retrieved a pry bar from the business and told the defendant to get away from Toussaint.  He then removed the keys from the truck and yelled at his co-worker, Frank Folger, to call 911.  Before and after the attack, the defendant made repeated racially degrading remarks toward Toussaint and his friend, both African-Americans. He also threatened Dan, saying he knew where he worked and would settle this with him.  Toussaint sustained major head injuries and ultimately died two days later.  Dan risked his own life to save the life of a dying man he did not know.  His selfless acts in deterring the defendant from running over Toussaint a second time and preventing further pain and injury is truly heroic.  He continued to act on behalf of the victim by testifying and helping to hold the defendant accountable.  Leonard was convicted of 1st-degree murder and attempted murder with a hate crime and use of a deadly weapon allegation.  He was sentenced to 32 years to life plus 8 years in state prison

John Escoto was inside Fly Cuts & Styles getting his haircut on December 14, 2010 when a gun fight erupted between Lonnie and Louis Mitchell, Marvion Barksdale, Charles Barksdale, Dominique Lott, James Carney and Larry Jones.  The area outside and inside the barbershop became a virtual war zone.  When Sheriff’s deputies arrived, they found a Chevy Tahoe parked in the lot with one of the rear doors open.  Monique Nelson was found unconscious and draped across her 2-year-old son Jayden, who was in his car seat unharmed.  Monique suffered a fatal gunshot wound as she shielded her son from the gunfire.  Four more victims were inside the barbershop, including John who suffered a gunshot wound to his leg.  Although injured himself, when the gunfire stopped, John immediately went to the aid of Adam Wade who had been shot in the stomach.  John applied pressure to Adam’s wound, caring for him until paramedics arrived.  Adam nearly died from his injury. John Escoto and Adam Wade did not know each other prior to that day.  Both happen to be United States military veterans.  In contrast to the lack of cooperation and hostility of many other witnesses of this crime, John and Adam fully cooperated with detectives and testified at trial despite personal safety concerns.  As a result of John’s military tours, he was a virtual expert witness about the weapons used as well as the sequence and direction of the shots fired.  John’s selfless actions the day of the shooting saved the life of a fellow veteran and his courage to testify and provide critical testimony ensured the shooters were taken off our streets and justice was served.  Marvion Barksdale was killed during the shootout.  The Mitchell brothers were both convicted of 1st-degree murder with personal use of a firearm and 4 counts of felony assault with a firearm. Lonnie Mitchell was sentenced to 59 years, 4 months to life in state prison and Louis Mitchell to 58 years, 4 months to life in state prison.  Carney was convicted of voluntary manslaughter with use of a firearm. Charles Barksdale pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter with a gang enhancement.  Lott pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter with use of a firearm.  Carney, Barksdale and Lott were sentenced to 21 years in state prison. Jones was acquitted

DA Schubert will also present an Outstanding Service Commendation Award to citizens who contribute to public safety through service as a volunteer, advocate or community leader.

The Law Enforcement Chaplaincy Sacramento (LECS) provides critical on-scene emotional crisis support for 19 law enforcement agencies, 16 school districts, state and county government agencies, businesses and churches throughout the region.  With a 24-7-365 response team, chaplains are dispatched to a variety of critical incidents, including serious accidents, suicides, homicides, suspicious deaths, sudden infant deaths, barricaded subjects, missing persons, death notifications and unexpected natural deaths.  Law enforcement chaplains also support members of law enforcement and their families who are grieving from the loss of a loved one and are a trusted source of confidence and encouragement day in and day out, in good times and in bad.  At any given time, LECS has 80 community chaplain volunteers who provide traumatized civilians a compassionate presence in the very worst times of their lives.  These volunteer chaplains bring a calming presence to potentially volatile scenes; serve as liaisons between survivors and public safety personnel; help convene survivors' family, friends and clergy; provide survivors information on how to care for themselves; offer referrals to agencies for long-term support; and provide other practical and immediate assistance as needed.  LECS is a charitable organization and all chaplaincy services are entirely free.  We honor all of the law enforcement chaplains and community chaplain volunteers for their service and contribution to law enforcement personnel and their families, victims of crime and tragedy and the community at large.

 

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