Man sentenced for death of his cousin in Spring Valley

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A man who fatally injured his cousin during a fight in his Spring Valley home was sentenced Sept. 7 to six years in state prison.

Andre Maurice Blue, 29, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the death of Kenyan Embry, 37, after Blue broke inside his cousin’s bedroom on Oct. 26, 2016.

A man who fatally injured his cousin during a fight in his Spring Valley home was sentenced Sept. 7 to six years in state prison.

Andre Maurice Blue, 29, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the death of Kenyan Embry, 37, after Blue broke inside his cousin’s bedroom on Oct. 26, 2016.

Blue, of San Diego, received credit for 629 days spent in jail including good conduct credits in El Cajon Superior Court. A murder charge had been filed against him, but it was dismissed when he pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter.

Paramedics took both men to the hospital after deputies responded to 911 calls at 5:28 a.m. in the Kenora Park Apartments at 3557 Kenora Drive in Spring Valley.

The causes of death for Embry were injuries from the fight, but also included cardiac arrest, respiratory distress, and use of cocaine beforehand, according to the deputy medical examiner that testified in the 2-day preliminary hearing in April.

Blue himself called 911 before the fight, saying he was afraid he might “do something stupid,” according to the calls played in court. Blue was not specific as to what he meant, and deputies arrived after the fight.

Drug dealer to be released after one year

A drug dealer who sold heroin to a woman who later died of an overdose will tentatively be released Sept. 21 from a 1-year jail term.

Marc Gressingh, 36, of San Diego, was sentenced by El Cajon Superior Court Judge Lantz Lewis on a charge of selling heroin to Rebecca Mercurio, 31, from an East County taco shop in 2016.

Although the prosecutor and family members of the victim requested a longer sentence last month, Lewis said that he could only sentence Gressingh on the drug charge as there was no manslaughter offense filed against him.

Mercurio purchased the drug from Gressingh on March 10, 2016, and she accidently overdosed on heroin the next day at a San Diego residence. She had reportedly met Gressingh at a drug rehabilitation center.

“I feel the sentence should have been much harsher,” said Monika Anderson, the victim’s mother.

“This case is an example of the catastrophic effect that heroin has on our community both on the addict and also the family of the dealer,” said Deputy District Attorney David Williams III.

The sheriff’s department reported his projected release from jail for Sept. 21. Another judge has scheduled a hearing for Oct. 10 to determine if he should be transferred to a drug rehabilitation center. 

Gressingh was arrested March 23 and was given credit for about five months in jail. Lewis ordered that Gressingh be subject to mandatory supervision for seven years after he finishes the jail term.

“Prosecutions like this send the message that when you sell heroin to another human being, you are literally providing them with toxic poison that can slow their breathing to the point of death,” said District Attorney Summer Stephan.

“We’re responding to the opioid addiction crisis that is claiming the very lives of so many in our community and stealing the promise of their future by combatting this issue on multiple fronts,” said Stephan.

The sheriff’s department investigated the case and arrested Gressingh.

Lakeside man pleads guilty in hatchet robbery

A Lakeside man pleaded guilty Aug. 29 to robbing a La Mesa store and to using a hatchet as a deadly weapon to prevent his arrest.

Randall John Lee, 24, will be sentenced Oct. 24 in El Cajon Superior Court. Lee remains free on $150,000 bond.

Lee faces a maximum six years in prison when he is sentenced, said Deputy District Attorney Brandon Owens. He could also get a lesser sentence.

Lee was at the Best Buy store at 8401 Fletcher Parkway in La Mesa on Feb. 28 when he tried to conceal a camera on his person. 

Lee fled in a brown Buick and San Diego County Crime Stoppers released his photo from a security camera March 21. He turned himself in that day at the Santee sheriff’s station.

Lee was also charged with robbing two other people at Wal-Mart stores in Santee and Lakeside on March 12 with a pellet gun, but those charges will be dropped as a result of his guilty pleas to robbery and the weapon use, said Owen.

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