The last of four Duarte gang members convicted of murder in connection with three shootings in Pasadena that sprung out of a gang feud was sentenced Monday to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Isaiah Jack Daniels, 27, was convicted in December 2018 of the 2017 murders of Antione Sutphen and Ormani Duncan, both 24 years old, who were gunned down at a vigil for a friend. Daniels was also found guilty of the attempted murders of two other victims and shooting at an occupied dwelling.
The jury also found true gun and gang allegations, as well as the special circumstance of multiple murder.
Three of Daniels’ co-defendants, Derion Davon Lee, 37, Pernell Barnes, 23, and Charod Robinson, 31, were also convicted and previously sentenced to life without the possibility of parole in connection with the crimes. Lee was convicted of a total of three murders, including that of 25-year-old Brandon Douglas.
Co-defendant John Robinson pleaded no contest to being an accessory in return for a nine-year prison sentence. A sixth defendant, Andrew Vasquez, was acquitted of all charges.
Douglas was killed on Dec. 22, 2016, in the 1200 block of North Fair Oaks Avenue. Sutphen and Duncan were gunned down in the same block on Jan. 7, 2017, while attending a vigil for Douglas. Authorities said they were the victims of a clash between street gangs in Pasadena and Duarte.
During Lee’s sentencing in July 2019, many members of Douglas’ family made statements to the court, as did the mother of Sutphens’ children and his own mother.
Several broke down in tears while recalling all they had lost.
Douglas’ mother, flanked by her daughter and another son, said the family had been packing for Christmas travel and she was baking pies when her son left to go downtown to shop for some family gifts. She took note of his red backpack and thought about saying something because of the color’s significance to gangs, but he was out the door before she did.
“My life has forever changed,” Kathy Morgan said, when asking the court in 2019 to impose the maximum sentence for Lee. “We feel the void of Brandon every day.”
Sutphen’s mother, Andrea Holcomb, told the court she prays to God to forgive.
“I forgive these bad people. I will never forgive what has happened … I am forever heartbroken,” Holcomb said in tears. “Rest well, my son, Mommy got justice for you.”
Nandi Hughes was six months pregnant with Sutphen’s child when he was killed. During the earlier sentencing for Lee, she held her then-2-year-old daughter and told the court she felt compelled to speak on behalf of the toddler and her nearly 8-year-old sister.
“She’s sentenced to life without her dad,” Hughes said of the younger girl and told the court that her older sister cries inconsolably over missing her father. “(She was) robbed of that by people she didn’t even know, that didn’t know him.”
Douglas’ stepmother, speaking without notes, railed against the senselessness of her stepson’s killing.
“He had a backpack on, he had earbuds in his ears, he had his back turned … there was no reason … they’re just cowards,” she said.
The killers wrote, “we got one” on an area wall, according to the stepmother, who also recalled gang members “sniggling and laughing” during the court proceedings.
“All of a sudden now it’s quiet,” the stepmother said, warning that God would render a final judgment. “The party’s over now … you have to stand in your own shoes.”
Wiretapped conversations helped convict the killers.
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