By Haile Cook – Cougar News
A 24-year-old Palmdale man was sentenced to 70 years to life in prison this week by a San Fernando judge for robbing a Newhall bank more than a year ago.
Judge Hayden R. Zacky struck down a Romero Motion and sentenced Demarie Rashad Mackey to state prison for robbing a Bank of America on the 24000 block of Valley Street in Newhall on March 25, 2013. Due to California sentencing laws, Mackey must serve at least 85 percent of his sentence in state prison before he’s eligible for parole.
DEMARIE-MACKEY_t607The hearing began with defense attorney Justine Esack bringing Mackey’s transgendered brother, Donte Mackey, 23, to the witness stand.
“We were never given a chance, you know,” said Mackey. “Our family didn’t even give us a chance. And he deserves a second chance. Because I need him just like I needed him back when we were kids.”
Demarie Mackey’s trial began at 9 a.m. Oct. 15, and the jury had reached a guilty verdict by 1:30 p.m. the following day.
Mackey was pulled over 15 minutes after the robbery at Valley Street and Lyons Avenue in March 2013, and he was found with the cash and his disguise, according to Deputy District Attorney Emily Cole.
“Detective Michael Staley led the investigation, and he did a fantastic job,” Cole said, shortly after the trial.
The defense introduced evidence of Mackey’s turbulent childhood during the sentencing hearing Monday.
Demarie and Donte Mackey were taken by the state from their mother and were put under the care of their grandmother at an early age, according to case documents.
The two boys were subjected to physical and sexual abuse according to testimony given by Mackey, by their grandmother and their two uncles, Darren Mackey and Marcus Harris.
“My uncle has told me, while raping me, that he abused my brother a couple of times in the garage,” said Donte Mackey.
Mackey testified that their upbringing resulted in his brothers actions stating, “had we been raised right and been done the right way and not abused as much, he would have never felt that he had to go do that ever.”
Demarie Mackey has been in and out of jail with a history of priors, beginning in his teens with an attempted murder conviction.
Esack tried to downgrade the defendant’s sentence by motioning for a Romero Motion, which is a motion that allows a judge to take out past ‘strikes’ and sentence the defendant to less time in prison, but it was denied due to the fact that his priors could only be treated as a strike convictions.
“The best indicator of his actions presently, and in the future, is what he has done in the past and we simply cannot change that,” Zacky said.
The defendant was convicted for two robberies in Ventura County and is awaiting sentencing in those cases.
“I wish that we weren’t here today. I wish Mr. Mackey would have never committed these bank robberies,” said Judge Zacky. “But he did, and he was convicted of three separate counts of bank robbery.”
Perry Smith contributed to this report.