By Natalia Claburn
SACRAMENTO, CA – Dewaze Whitfield is facing up to five years and four months in prison following his arrest for allegedly assaulting a woman with a firearm during a driving altercation, and then allegedly obstructing county jail deputies during a lockdown.
Deputy District Attorney Saron Tesfai detailed the factual basis for having Whitfield in court and the charges he was facing, beginning with the prior strike that Whitfield was pleading to in this preliminary hearing Thursday in Sacramento County Superior Court.
On January 26, 2018, Whitfield was “convicted of the crime of carjacking,” which resulted in him spending an unspecified period of time in custody.
Then, Tesfai detailed Whitfield’s two most recent crimes beginning on Feb. 1, 2021, in Sacramento County. Whitfield is accused of “driving his vehicle recklessly in an apartment complex” with his fiancé in the front passenger seat.
Whitfield then allegedly cut off the victim who was driving her own vehicle in the parking lot of the complex, and according to DDA Tesfai, the victim “yelled at him, saying something to the effect of ‘dude, really?’” It was then that Whitfield exited the vehicle, according to the prosecution.
Approaching the victim’s car, Whitfield then allegedly got into a verbal altercation with the victim, who claimed he “pulled out a firearm and pointed it at her,” stating ‘I don’t give a fuck about your life.’”
Prosecutor Tesfai added that “at that point, the defendant got back in his vehicle and fled but was stopped by deputies about 10 minutes later.” Officers stopped the vehicle because the victim gave the police his license plate numbers.
When deputies searched Whitfield, his fiancé, and his car, they “located a firearm and two extended [firearm] magazines in his fiancée’s purse.” As a previously convicted felon, being in possession of a firearm made this situation even more complicated.
On May 2, 2021, when Whitfield was in custody in the Sacramento County jail, the defendant allegedly got into an altercation with three of the jail guards because he “failed to go to his cell when he was ordered to lockdown.”
In an attempt to force Whitfield into his cell, deputies claimed they “tried to grab him and take him into his cell (and) ultimately led to a physical altercation where the defendant made numerous threats and physically resisted the [three deputies].”
Judge Geoffrey Goodman then asked the defendant if he understood the risk of having two strikes on his record.
When defendants have more than one strike on their records, there is a possibility of “a life sentence” if they commit another offense. Whitfield solemnly said, “yes, I understand.”
Both parties came to an agreement that if Whitman admitted to the prior strikes, the allegation held against the defendant from the Jan. 26, 2018 altercation would be “amended.”
Whitfield pleaded no contest to the charge of assault with a firearm and also admitted to the prior strikes on his record, taking the offer from the DA’s office.
Judge Goodman informed Whitfield that he will be “barred for life from owning or possessing a firearm” and must pay a restitution fine between “$300 to $10,000” to both the victim involved in the assault with a firearm and to the Sacramento County Superior Court.
Goodman ended the hearing by entering Whitman’s plea and admissions of prior strikes, setting Whitman’s sentencing date for Oct. 25.