California

Violent juvenile double murderer who ‘loves’ killing sentenced to just nine years in California juvenile center

Violent juvenile double murderer who ‘loves’ killing
sentenced to just nine years in California juvenile center 1

KERN COUNTY, CA – A Kern County 16-year-old boy found guilty Wednesday of a double murder and who told officials he loved killing will only spend nine years in a juvenile facility because of a state law forbidding teens from being tried as adults.

Daqwontay Cage, 15 years old at the time of the murders, bragged more than once about his killings for a gang in 2020.

According to court records, 18-year-old Christian Howell and 17-year-old Makhi Bowen were shot by Cage multiple times through the window of their vehicle and killed at a Fastrip gas station on Niles Street and Fairfax Road in Bakersfield.

During his trial, it was revealed that Cage had recently “jumped in” to a street gang in 2020. He and two other gang members followed the victims’ vehicle until it stopped, and at that point, Cage exited the vehicle, approached the passenger side of the victims’ vehicle, and fired 11 times into the window and fled.

Cage bragged about the shooting and while in custody told a probation officer he loves killing, even pointing out another teen he said he planned to kill, according to KGET News.

Prosecutor Esther Schlaerth read a report during Wednesday’s sentencing hearing for Cage:

“My first one I just loved it. I just wanted to do it more and more”

Cage was not eligible to be tried as an adult due to Senate Bill 1391, a state law passed in 2018 which went into effect in 2019.

California law prohibits the transfer of any person to adult court when the person was 14 or 15 years old at the time the crime occurred and prohibits the trying of 14- and 15-year-old offenders as an adult regardless of the number and severity of the crimes alleged to have been committed.

Because of Senate Bill 1391, Cage will be released from a juvenile center when he reaches 25 years of age. If he had been tried as an adult for the gang killings, he would have faced a maximum sentence of up to 110 years.

District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer said the law prevents justice for victims of violent crimes committed by juveniles:

“It has long been recognized that many juvenile cases should be treated differently than adults, but recent laws have gone too far in providing leniency to teenagers who engage in extremely violent, gang-related murders.

The victims, their families, and the community at large deserve justice and protection from a double murderer that cannot come solely from the limited role that the juvenile justice system fills.

“When teenagers commit multiple gang-related murders, laws must permit penalties that match the crime to ensure justice and public safety.

This case is yet another example of how recent pro-crime and anti-victim legislation leaves all Californians exposed to increasing violence and does not honor victims’ rights.”

During sentencing, victim’s family members spoke out:

Howell’s Uncle, Kwame Kekaula, said in a statement read in court that Cage’s “show no regard for humanity.”

Tameka Young, Bowen’s aunt, described receiving a call from her sister informing her of the shooting:

“The pain, I can’t explain it, but I heard it, I felt it. He destroyed our lives.

“This is a double homicide. One-hundred fifty years is what this kid should have got. If he’s out in seven, potentially up to nine and he took two lives, where’s the justice in that?”

Cage has been in trouble with the law since his first contact with probation officers when he was only eight years old. Cage has been committed three times to juvenile facilities, once at Camp Erwin Owens and twice at the Crossroads Facility.

His performance was described as “abysmal,” according to KGET.

Judge Wendy Avila described some of his criminal record during the sentencing hearing. She pointed out that Cage was once arrested for a gun possession case on the same day he was released from a facility.

Cage could not even stay out of trouble while housed in the detention facilities, according to the judge. She said he engaged in a “race riot” at Juvenile Hall at one time, and at Crossroads detention center he was reported for indecent exposure, possession of contraband, and fighting.

The judge referenced a report stating Cage told an officer last year he was having dreams about killing people and wondered if it could be post-traumatic stress disorder.

According to the judge, he told the officer that the people he had killed were his enemies and pointed to an alleged rival gang member in the facility, identifying him as someone he would kill when he gets out.

Making the sentence to a juvenile facility more concerning for the double-murder is the fact that he had escaped from custody less than two hours after being arrested for the murders.

The Kern County Sheriff’s Office had asked for the public’s help on Sunday in locating Cage after he escaped custody while at juvenile.

Cage was seen fleeing the facility on foot at approximately 12:30 p.m. Sunday, according to a KCSO statement.

Cage was later captured on Oregon Street shortly before 2:30 p.m. and taken back into custody, according to Lt. Cesar Ollague of the KCSO.

Probation officials declined further comment on the escape, stating:

“This remains an ongoing investigation and, for security purposes, no further details related to the escape will be shared at this time.”

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LET Unity
Two firefighters are dead. The teens accused of setting the fire cannot be tried as adults in California.

February 22, 2020

PORTERVILLE, Calif.- Two suspects accused of starting a deadly fire that claimed the lives of two firefighters earlier this week cannot be tried as adults, and the town is outraged.

Tuesday afternoon, firefighters responded to a fire at the Porterville Public Library. Capt. Ramon “Ray” Figueroa, 35, and firefighter Patrick Jones, 25, lost their lives in the blaze.

As news of their deaths spread across the community, located in central California, word began to circulate that the fire may have been deliberately set.

The fire, which was reported at 4:35 p.m. raged into the night before it was finally extinguished, according to the Sacramento Bee. It took dozens of local and state fire departments to put out the fire.

Two 13-year-old boys were seen running from the scene, and they were later arrested and were being held at a juvenile detention center, according to the Associated Press.

According to Tulare County District Attorney Tim Ward, the reaction of the community to the arrests were “unusually swift and strong.”

“[Crews] hadn’t even recovered the second firefighter’s body and people were calling and telling us what charges we should file,” Ward told the Washington Post on Thursday.

Ward referenced recent criminal justice reform laws, which he said that the public do not seem to understand.

“Even with the most serious charges of murder, 13-year-olds in California can’t be tried as adults,” Ward said in a video statement shared the day after the fire.

Even in cases of murder, juveniles in California are eligible for release at the age of 25, he said.

“I’m certain this information may be met with outrage,” he said. “This is why myself and many district attorneys across the state were against these changes to the law.”

Detectives from the Porterville Police Department were expected to deliver their police report to the Tulare District Attorney’s Office this past Thursday, according to Police Chief Eric Kroutil.

“Our folks have been working very closely with [prosecutors],” he said. “It’s very challenging…there are very strict limitations on how we can question juveniles.”

He noted that detectives will meet with prosecutors to see what steps they can take going forward.

This case has obviously raised the ire of the community and both police and prosecutors find themselves between the proverbial rock and a hard place.

“Please bear with me as I navigate this in the best, most ethical way that I can,” said Ward. “Always giving priority to preserving the integrity of the process and any potential prosecution of a case.”

Chief Kroutil said that the investigation was ongoing, but police were not releasing too many details.

As far as the actual cause of the fire, Tulare County Fire Capt. Joe Rosa is leading the investigation. Rosa has dozens of arson case investigations across the county under his belt and has a high conviction record.

Capt. Raymond Figueroa joined the fire department in 2007. He passed away on the night of the fire.

Firefighter Patrick Jones, who had been with the department since 2017, was found in the rubble the next night, according to officials.

Boys accused of starting deadly fire can’t be tried as adults, California DA says. The town is outraged.

Residents of the town are curious what the suspects will face as far as consequences for their actions.

“Juveniles are extremely protected,” the chief said. “In my opinion rightfully so.”

For his part, District Attorney Ward asked for “understanding and patience.”

“The office of the district attorney will be constrained today, and even more so in the future from sharing very much with the public,” he said. “There are significant limitations when it comes to what we can reveal.” This is especially true since the suspects will be tried as juveniles and not as adults.

As in many states, the juvenile justice system in California seals records of juveniles involved in criminal cases, and will redact pretty much all information, including names, from public view.

In the state of California, children under 14 cannot be tried as adults, even if they are charted with serious and violent felonies such as manslaughter.

“If the suspects were 17, they could be tried as adults, according to Chief Kroutil.

“They would face a lengthy prison sentence,” he said. “That’s not going to happen in this case.”

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