The last remaining perpetrator of a robbery-murder on Halloween 2011 in Santa Clarita was sentenced Friday.
Diamonte “Tay Tay” McGhee, 20, of Canyon Country, was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole, in addition to approximately seven life terms, officials said.
He was convicted of 10 charges, including first degree murder, second degree robbery, four counts of attempted murder and four counts of assault with a semiautomatic weapon.
There were also special allegations and circumstances, meaning the jury decided McGhee fired the weapon and it was used in commission of a crime.
There were three teens involved in the shooting that wounded Ricardo Sandoval and killed Alejandro Sanchez Torres, a homeless man who intervened when the three teens were beating Sandoval.
Sworn testimony in court revealed McGhee, Branden Higgs and Eric Edwards were going to meet up with Sandoval for the sale of a used game system, which turned into an assault; then a shooting; and then, when Sanchez Torres saw the struggle and tried to intervene, a murder.
Sanchez-Torres, who was killed during the robbery, had only met Sandoval moments prior to his death, when Sandoval gave the man 35 cents, after Sanchez-Torres asked if he had any money.
Sanchez-Torres was with his then-7-year-old son when he saw Sandoval getting beat up and tried to intervene in the wash behind Art’s Liquor in Canyon Country, according to testimony in court.
McGhee and Edwards were both found guilty of murder and attempted murder, with special allegations that a firearm was used in the commission of the crime, and that their assaults were done during the commission of a robbery.
The jury found Branden Higgs not guilty of conspiracy to commit robbery. On the other 10 counts against Higgs, the judge declared a mistrial.
Judge David Gelfound declared the mistrial after finding the jury’s vote was 7-5, on most of the charges, in favor of not guilty for Higgs.
Higgs took a plea deal in April instead of seeking a retrial. He pleaded guilty to five charges — one count of voluntary manslaughter and four counts of attempted murder.
Higgs’ co-defendant, Eric Edwards, of Canyon Country, 20, was sentenced to 30 to life, plus four consecutive life terms last week, said Ricardo Santiago, spokesman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
Prosecutor Brad Lieberman portrayed McGhee as the leader of the group and the one who pulled the trigger, and the jury agreed.
All three were 17 at the time the crime was committed, but charged as adults due to the circumstances.