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Friday, 20 February 2009

Deshawn Broadnax, 22, was found guilty in December of two counts of first-degree murder

Deshawn Broadnax, 22, was found guilty in December of two counts of first-degree murder and other charges, plus special-circumstance allegations including multiple murders. He and another man identified as the getaway driver were arrested and later indicted by a grand jury in the deaths of Brandon Hammond and Marcelles McElvaine, both 19. The victims were shot Dec. 6, 2006 in a Bay Terraces neighborhood cul-de-sac. They were not gang members, authorities said. During an emotional hearing Thursday in San Diego Superior Court, Judge John Thompson denied a motion for a new trial, noting the jury heard “overwhelming evidence” that Broadnax fired the fatal shots. Taking each crime separately, the judge sentenced Broadnax to two terms of life without parole, and an additional 57 years to life. Prosecutors argued in trial that Broadnax committed the murders in rival gang territory as retaliation for another killing the day before. Ahmad Lewis, 19, was gunned down Dec. 5, 2006 on Gwen Street in Valencia Park.
“He did, in fact, go hunting,” said Deputy District Attorney Mark Amador in court Thursday, referring to Broadnax. “He assassinated Mr. McElvaine and Mr. Hammond.” According to court documents, Hammond lived on Deep Dell Court where he was killed. The spot is near the Meadowbrook Apartment complex, a known stronghold of a Skyline-area gang. The getaway driver, Anthony Torian, testified in trial that Broadnax approached him the night of the murders, showed him a gun, and asked for a ride to the Meadowbrook complex. When they got there, the two men smoked cigarettes and waited by one of the entrances.
At one point, Broadnax walked around a corner and Torian heard gunshots. He then ran back to Torian's car and the two men drove off. Broadnax boasted later about how he duped the victims into lighting a cigarette for him, then shot them, Torian said.
Torian, 23, pleaded guilty to two counts of voluntary manslaughter and could be sentenced to a minimum of 13 years in prison or a maximum of 26 years and fours months.
Several members of the victims' families attended the Thursday hearing. Hammond's uncle, Wilfred Jackson, spoke about his nephew's plans to move to San Francisco and his dream of designing clothes and shoes. “He was at a point in his life where he was trying to do something. He was trying to make those changes,” Jackson said.
Broadnax's mother spoke angrily to the judge, saying the witnesses who testified in trial had lied and that her son is not a gang member.


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