California Teen Confesses to Shooting Death of 16-Year-Old Girl and Her Parents: DA
Prosecutors accepted the offer of 150 years to life in prison, according to Mauricio Johnson’s attorney, Andrea Sullivan, with his first parole hearing in 25 years, the Humboldt County District Attorney said.
A California teenager admitted to the fatal shooting of a 16-year-old girl and her parents after he was caught getting "intimate" with the girl in her bedroom, prosecutors said, according to published reports.
Mauricio Johnson, 19, pleaded guilty to the triple murder of Nikki Metcalf, 40, Margarett Moon, 40, and the 16-year-old girl, whose name was not released because she is a minor, the Humbolt County District Attorney’s Office said in a press release.
Prosecutors accepted the offer of 150 years to life in prison, according to Johnson’s attorney, Andrea Sullivan, with his first parole hearing in 25 years, the Humboldt County District Attorney said.
Johnson’s sentencing date is scheduled for Jan. 21, The New York Post reported.
The triple homicide took place on the Bear River Band of the Rohnerville Rancheria Reservation on Feb. 9.
Johnson entered the victim's home after he was granted permission from several of the minors in the home. Sometime during the night after everyone had gone to sleep, Nikki Metcalf, the stepfather, discovered Johnson, and his stepdaughter, together in her bedroom, the release from the DA’s office said.
The teens had been getting intimate, and Metcalf hit Johnson, who ran from the room with his pants down, according to a warrant, Law & Crime reported.
Once in the living room, Johnson pulled a gun from his backpack and shot Metcalf dead, the warrant said.
The mother, awakened by the gunfire, was shot when she walked into the living room, the news outlet reported. Johnson then shot the girl “because he did not want to have any witnesses,” according to Law & Crime.
Both Metcalf and his stepdaughter died at the scene, and Moon died shortly after, the DA's office said.
The District Attorney said if the case had proceeded to trial and a jury found the defendant guilty of the charges above and the additional special allegation of multiple murders, a judge might have sentenced the defendant to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
In agreeing to the plea, the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office said they considered several factors, including, if the plea satisfies the public safety mission of the Office; a trial would require testimony from young people who have suffered a tragedy; the wishes of family members of the victims; the retention of hope for the positive transformation of a person 18 years of age at the time of their crime, and likely changes to California law.
“Attorneys and victim advocates from the District Attorney’s Office spoke with many members of the victims’ families, friends, and additional members of the community,” the DA’s office said in a statement. “Understandably, given the terrible harm done by the defendant, the people most affected by the murders expressed differing views on whether to accept the plea or proceed to trial.”
In a statement, the district attorney cited changes to California law as another reason. “Youthful offenders all currently receive a parole hearing in their 25th year of incarceration, unless they are serving life without the possibility of parole," the release said.
“California legislators are seeking to modify the parole eligibility of youthful offenders so that all would be entitled to a parole hearing regardless of their original sentence. The defendant’s agreed-upon sentence would be the maximum sentence he could receive if the law under consideration takes effect.”
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