By Matthew Torres and Gina Kim
SACRAMENTO, CA – At a pretrial conference here in Sacramento County Superior Court Thursday, Demetrius Curry heard some of the evidence against him in the case that accuses him of attempted robbery, robbery, and assault with a deadly firearm causing great bodily injury.
The witness statements by twin brother victims, detailing the warehouse party shootout, hold “great leverage in this case,” noted Judge Ernest Sawtelle.
One brother was robbed of diamond and gold chains valued around $5,000, and a diamond and gold “Rolex” watch valued around $2000.
“All the evidence I have suggests that the (victims) were just there at the party, and that they were robbed by the defendant, and that the defendant shot at them,” claimed Deputy District Attorney Sterlin Wilkins.
Although the defendant’s motives remain unclear, Wilkins noted the contentious history of the victims and Curry. They had all been on familiar terms and hung out frequently. Moreover, an assault victim was an ex-boyfriend of Curry’s cousin.
Roughly 150 rounds were found. Ballistics reported multiple calibers, suggesting at least four weapons were implicated. Though Curry was the only suspect identified, ballistics point to more than one shooter at the scene.
Statements outside the scene of the crime reported hearing several gunshots fired. According to the assault victim’s description, no gunshots went off prior to the defendat’s assault.
“From the evidence I have, it appears that the impetus of all the other gunshots was this first initial shooting,” stated Wilkins.
Judge Sawtelle asked if the shootout could have been gang related, but DDA Wilkins claimed there was not enough information to confirm.
In response, Assistant Public Defender Maura Delarosa cited the robbery victim’s initial police testimony—three men dressed in black had approached him and demanded his property. His earlier claim suggests the shootings began once the unidentified suspects entered the warehouse after.
Moreover, at that point, Delarosa noted the victim “doesn’t believe that Mr. Curry would do that to him, they don’t have bad blood. They hadn’t seen each other in years. Their riff was over.
“Later, after the family pulls aside the witness brother, and then the witness brother pulls aside the shooting brother, now they’re all on the same page.” concluded Delarosa, who suggested the victim’s contradictory statements rendered the court unable to confirm whether or not her client was the true shooter.
“[A victim] is adamant from the jump, from his initial statement and subsequent statement, always indicates it was the (the suspect who shot him),” Wilkins countered.
The suspect already has four prior felony convictions—including the possession of a loaded firearm and several counts of domestic violence. He is currently serving his second term in prison.
Charged on counts of robbery, attempted robbery and assault with a deadly firearm causing great bodily injury, he could be facing 25 years to life.
After everything was presented before Judge Sawtelle, he recommended some considerations be made by the defense, “since the DA holds a lot of leverage in this case, clearly, I think it’s gonna require probably the defense to sit down and seriously consider what they could live with in this case to make an offer back to the People.”
Due to the new discovery of body-worn camera footage from law enforcement that has not yet been transcribed, prosecution and defense must collaborate to get those ready in time for trial, he added.
A recent statutory change authorizes the DA to no longer exercise peremptory challenges, meaning they do not have to give reason to dismiss a juror, so the judge said he plans to move the trial along with jury selection to be completed in half a day on Tuesday.