LANCASTER – A state appeals court panel Friday ordered re-sentencing for two of the four men convicted in connection with the shooting death of a man during a street brawl in Lancaster nearly a decade ago.
The three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal ordered a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge to grant the petitions from Joshua R. Lockett and Terrell D. Henderson for re-sentencing as a result of a recent change in state law that affects defendants convicted in some murder cases.
The appellate court panel concluded that “reversal is warranted on the ground of insufficiency of the evidence.”
Lockett and Henderson were convicted of second-degree murder along with Randy Sullivan, who is not a party to the appeal. All three men were sentenced to potential life prison terms in 2014. A fourth man, Cedric Burton Jr., was subsequently arrested and convicted of first-degree murder for the Nov. 29, 2012, slaying of Brandy “Brandon” Houston. Jurors in Burton’s case also found true the special circumstance allegation of lying in wait, along with gun and gang allegations.
The brawl was spurred by an argument between the 21-year-old victim and his live-in girlfriend, who had called her sister for a ride, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Her sister sent Henderson, Sullivan and Lockett to pick her up, and they got into an argument with Houston and his family members, authorities said. The three men left, but promised to return, sheriff’s officials said.
The men later returned with Burton, and a melee erupted in which Burton shot the victim 11 times, authorities said.
“Based on our review of the record, substantial evidence does not support the trial court’s conclusions on the required elements for aiding and abetting a second-degree murder,” the appellate court panel found in its 26-page ruling. “There is simply no rational inference that the petitioners engaged in the brawl as a ruse to allow Burton the chance to sneak in for the kill.”
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