San Diego County

Man Sentenced to 196 Years as Teen And Released After Law Change Accused in Violent Robbery

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A man who was sentenced to 196 years to life in prison for his role in a series of San Diego drive-by slayings, but was released last year due to changes to state law regarding juvenile defendants, was charged Monday with robbing and stabbing a stranger earlier this month.

Dejon Satterwhite, 31, is accused of stabbing the victim in the back on March 11 after stealing his money, according to the San Diego County District Attorney's Office, which said the victim suffered a punctured left lung in the attack.

Satterwhite was previously convicted of two counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder for a trio of gang-related shootings he and three co-defendants committed in 2004, when Satterwhite was 15 years old.

Satterwhite was tried and convicted in adult court, but the District Attorney's Office said changes to state law allowed him to be released last October despite being handed a life sentence.

According to the DA's Office, those changes included the passage of Proposition 57, which requires transfer hearings for juvenile defendants 14 or older to determine if their case should be transferred to adult court, and SB 1391, which bars defendants under 16 from being tried as adults or receiving transfer hearings. Since Satterwhite was 15 at the time of the murders, his convictions were converted into juvenile convictions.

Satterwhite is now charged with robbery and allegations of causing great bodily injury and using a deadly weapon. He is being held on $2 million bail and faces up to nine years in prison if convicted of all charges in the new case.

During his arraignment, Deputy District Attorney Jack Yeh argued that Satterwhite was "an imminent danger to the community. He had proved this to be true when he participated in the 2004 murders and he demonstrated that he lacks the capacity to change when he allegedly robbed and stabbed a stranger, leaving him for dead.''

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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