The California district attorney who refused to trial the boy as an adult and was linked to three murders, including the gruesome road rage slaughter of a newlywed, gave him a sentence of just seven years in jail.
The Sheriff’s Office of Alameda County, California, took to Facebook to criticize local chief prosecutor Pamela Price for not giving 18-year-old Sergio Morales-Jacquez a harsher sentence.
“Due to Morales-Jacquez’s extensive and violent criminal history in multiple jurisdictions, a petition was submitted to the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office to have Morales-Jacquez charged as an adult,” the agency wrote.
In September 2022, in San Lorenzo, Morales-Jacquez killed Rienhart Asuncion after a road rage incident. While on FaceTime with his wife, Asuncion got into an argument with the shooter and a few of his buddies. Asuncion was shot and killed by Morales-Jacquez, according to the police.
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“Unfortunately, that petition was denied, and Morales-Jacquez was charged as a juvenile for the murder of Asuncion in March 2023.” The police also mentioned that the murderer might be released from prison early on parole before his 25th birthday.
“Seven years for three murder cases?” said a former local prosecutor. “That is telling these kids that they are in control. Nothing — and I mean nothing — is a big deal anymore.” The attorney warned that the county’s streets will be wreaked by excessive tolerance for minors since children are committing more and more violent crimes at younger and younger ages.
“Forget 16 and 17,” the source said. “We’re seeing kids getting into gang life at 10 now. Violent felony cases for kids under 15 are not a rare occurrence anymore. That’s why this approach is going to be a major, major problem. Price ran for office in November as an unabashed progressive, promising to reduce prison sentences and upend Alameda County’s prosecutorial norms if elected.
Less than two weeks after Asuncion’s murder, Morales-Jacquez is also suspected in the shooting deaths of two Berkeley brothers at a party in Oakland. Two siblings, Angel and Jazy Sotelo Garcia, were killed and several others were injured when Morales-Jacquez and his two accomplices opened fire at the party.
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Authorities said the brothers weren’t their intended victims. The request from Price’s office for Morales-Jacquez to be tried as an adult is currently being reviewed. The Berkeley Scanner reports that he is also being questioned by police in connection with a homicide that occurred in neighboring Fremont.
Family members of the victims have expressed concern to the media about how Price, who has pledged to be lenient in this case, will handle it. In recent months, several high-profile officials of Price’s administration have quit, citing her “decarceral” emphasis as the reason.
In an effort to “stop over-criminalizing youth,” Price wants to “stop charging and/or incarcerating youths under the age of 18 as adults,” according to her website. Many other high-profile cases where she could have added gun and gang criminal enhancements have gone without them.
In the past, prosecutors would tack on enhancements to significant felony cases in order to ask for heavier sentences. Price has effectively banned their usage, causing her prosecutors to choose probation for practically all offences and prompting two seasoned prosecutors with a combined 26 and 17 years in the field to resign.
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