A judge delayed sentencing March 8 to May 31 for three young men convicted of murdering Mission Beach resident Garrett Berki, 18, a 2010 graduate of La Jolla High School, after he answered a Craigslist ad for a computer for sale in 2011.
The victim’s parents and others were present for what was supposed to be sentencing, but defense attorneys persuaded San Diego Superior Court Judge Kerry Wells to delay it, based on recent changes in state law over the sentences of minors who are tried as adults.
The gunman, Rashon Abernathy, 19, is expected to get 50 years in prison and his attorney, Kathleen Coyne, said she is challenging that sentence.
“I want to give my client every opportunity … to get a parole decision in his natural life,” she said.
Attorneys for Shaquille Jordan, 19, and Seandell Lee Jones, 19, said their clients face terms of 25 years to life and they, too, consider that too long.
A jury convicted the trio of first-degree murder and robbery of Berki and his girlfriend on May 11, 2011.
— Neal Putnam
PB man given work furlough for assaults
Tommy Madriaga, 34, of Pacific Beach, was sentenced March 5 to one year in a work-furlough facility for injuring his girlfriend and assaulting a police officer when he rammed his car into a patrol vehicle.
Madriaga will be allowed to go to work, but will be locked up at nights and on weekends in a facility for one year on terms of three years’ probation which was granted by San Diego Superior Court Judge Laura Halgren.
Madriaga was accused of choking his girlfriend. Her head hit the dashboard of his car in the Oct. 27 incident near Loring and Lamont streets in Pacific Beach after they left a party at 12:15 a.m. at a hotel.
The judge ordered Madriaga to complete a domestic-violence program. He will report to the work-furlough facility this week.
Madriaga apologized to his girlfriend, who was in the courtroom, and added, “I know I messed up.”
Madriaga pleaded guilty to inflicting corporal injuries to his girlfriend and to felony assault upon the officer involving the rammed patrol car. Halgren dismissed other charges that included dissuading a witness, hit and run, vandalism and evading officers.
— Neal Putnam
Ex-prosecutor to get community service
A former prosecutor who was convicted of three misdemeanors in a Pacific Beach ticket-fixing case was ordered March 8 to perform 200 hours of volunteer work under terms of three years probation.
Allison Worden, 37, may face suspension of her license to practice law, said San Diego Superior Court Judge Louis Hanoian. He said the court is required to report the case to the state bar. She was fined $1,500.
Hanoian noted he was not suspending her license, but he believed there would be an interim suspension of her license because the offense was one of moral turpitude. Worden resigned from the District Attorney’s Office on
Feb. 19, six days after a jury convicted her.
Her legal troubles began on May 28, 2011 in the 4600 block of Cass Street when a police officer pulled over a car driven by another prosecutor, Amy Maund. The officer noticed Worden, a passenger, wasn’t wearing a seat belt, and issued tickets to Worden and Maund.
Worden called police Sgt. Kevin Friedman, a supervisor in the traffic department, who then destroyed the tickets and later pleaded no contest to destruction of a traffic citation.
Friedman, 49, was ordered to perform 40 hours of volunteer work and placed on two years’ probation and fined $500. He resigned, moved to Arizona and refused to testify in Worden’s trial.
Deputy Attorney General Michael Murphy asked for 30 days in jail, saying “she did violate the public trust.” Her attorney was Paul Pfingst, who hired her when he was District Attorney. He told the judge “she has paid a substantial penalty.”
— Neal Putnam
Farmers market celebrates 25th year
The Pacific Beach Certified Market at the Promenade Mall at 4150 Mission Blvd. has reached its 25th year on March 9. Dozens of farm families have made the weekly trek to Pacific Beach, bringing their fresh products to local consumers.
The market is the longest-running certified farmers market in the city, starting a trend that continues today. It has remained a “pure” farmers market, relying on consumers recognizing that the participants are truly farmers who have the best they can produce to offer.
The vendors represent the crops that local farmers grow first and foremost, and give folks a feel for how things are in the local agricultural community. The event takes place on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon.
For more information, visit www.sdfarmbureau.org.