The Star-News


Brotherly bond takes them to prison

Thu, Jun 10 2010 04:06 PM Posted By: Neal Putnam

Two South Bay brothers, who were 15 and 17 years old when they participated in three drive-by shootings that killed two men and wounded three others, were sentenced June 4 to prison terms that ensure they will never be paroled.

Dejon Satterwhite, now 21, was sentenced to 196 years to life in prison by San Diego Superior Court Judge Frank Brown.

Edward Eugene Thomas, now 22, received two consecutive life terms without parole plus 136 years consecutively.

They received consecutive terms for three counts of attempted murder.

Richard Wilson, 22, of Lemon Grove, was shot in the head while he was driving his car on state Route 163 on Aug. 14, 2004.

Lee Smith Jr., who attended Morse High School, was 16 years old when he was killed Aug. 13, 2004.

The victims who died weren't gang members, but the shootings were considered gang-related.

The Otay Mesa brothers went through a number of appeals as the District Attorney's Office sought to have them tried as adults.

Satterwhite's attorney, Al Williams, told the judge his client was the "least culpable" person.

He urged Brown to not sentence his client consecutively, saying there was "still redemption" in Satterwhite's life.

"This is a life they chose. He did it to himself," replied Brown.

Deputy District Attorney Michael Runyon said Thomas was the driver and used his car to carry the group around. "These teenagers were hunting other human beings," Runyon said.

The prosecutor quoted Satterwhite as saying to police, "I can't believe my brother is going down on something I did."

Brown said Thomas' role was important because he furnished a car to "get them there."

He said Thomas was "devoted to this gang culture."

"There's dead people and they are laughing about it in the back of a patrol car," Brown said. "I have seen no remorse."

Brown justified the long terms saying there were "separate victims on separate days."

Both men received credits of 2,120 days in jail including the time spent in Juvenile Hall before they turned 18.

Brown said he couldn't impose two life terms without parole for Satterwhite because he was 15 years old at the time.

Both men were fined $1,400 each, and both were told to pay their share of $12,404 for funeral expenses, along with two other men who have been convicted in the case.

Two juries, which were designated as red and blue, heard the three-month trial in Brown's courtroom.

Each jury was excluded when some evidence involving another defendant was admitted.

Both juries convicted the men of all charges on March 12.


© 2009 The Star-News