Two men given life sentences for gang-related double murder

Courtesy image.

Two men who were convicted of killing two others in gang related shootings in La Mesa were sentenced Oct. 11 to two consecutive life sentences in prison without the possibility of parole.

The families of both East County victims, Xusha Brown, Jr., 22, and Darris Walker, 20, were present to hear the sentences of Anthony Constantin Frank, 28, of El Cajon, and Donte Jerome Haddock, 28, of Eastlake.

San Diego Superior Court Judge Louis Hanoian acknowledged the “entire sentences are impossible to serve.” He then added 90 years to Frank and 82 years to Haddock’s life terms.

Debra Flores, Brown’s mother, referred to her son’s nickname, “Little Shu,” and described him as “a little Indian boy” who was slain May 5, 2013 while a passenger in a car on Interstate 8.

The Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, Brown’s family, and law enforcement put together a $100,000 reward for information about Brown’s murder that included billboard signs. Flores noted the reward money was never distributed as the slaying was solved by law enforcement in 2016.

“It’s just tragic. There’s no sentence I can impose that would bring back your son,” said Hanoian.

Deputy District Attorney Sophia Roach read a letter from the family of Walker, a Grossmont College student who was shot to death on April 30, 2011, inside a parked car outside the Marie Callender’s restaurant on Alvarado Road in La Mesa.

“He is forever missed. Out of nowhere, our world crumbled,” read Roach.

Neither victim was a member of a gang. There was heavy security with nine sheriff’s deputies inside and outside the packed courtroom.

Both men have served more than 1,000 days in jail since their arrests in July, 2016, but these credits are moot since they cannot be released.

Frank, who is suspected of being the gunman, said he was “willing to take a lie detector test” and insisted he was not at either crime scene.

“I’m still innocent. I know I’ll be back here for a new trial,” said Haddock.

Roach said both men called their girlfriends on their cell phones at both crime scenes and this evidence proves they were there.

Haddock’s attorney, Jane Kinsey, said his “loving family” was present in court. The defense of both men blamed the shootings on a third man, Alaeante Eason, 29, of Spring Valley, who was arrested with the other two.

Eason pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaugher of Brown and some unrelated charges. Eason testified against both men and was sentenced Sept. 13 to four years and four months in prison.

Eason was released days later because he had served over 1,000 days in jail and was given credit for time served.

The jury convicted Haddock and Frank July 24 of two counts of first-degree murder with the special circumstances of multiple murders, lying in wait, and murder while discharging a firearm from a vehicle.

The trial lasted eight weeks and Haddock and Frank did not testify. They were also found guilty of conspiracy and committing the crimes to benefit a criminal street gang. They were both fined $10,404.

High school teacher charged with molesting two students

An Oct. 29 preliminary hearing has been set for Dustin Steven Sniff, 38, a former teacher at Christian High School in El Cajon who is charged with molesting two female students in 2016-17.

Sniff is also accused of two counts of rape, and three counts of forcible oral copulation upon three adult women whom he met at a modeling website.

Sniff has pleaded not guilty in El Cajon Superior Court. His attorney declined to comment.

An arrest warrant affidavit alleges Sniff gave tequila to a 16-year-old girl at a drive-in movie and molested her in his car after she became intoxicated. An 18-year-old woman alleges she was forced to orally copulate him in 2008.

Sniff, of El Cajon, is charged with molesting a 17-year-old girl who met him through a friend of hers in 2009. Sniff was terminated from Christian High School some years ago. He remains in jail on $1 million bail following his May 15 arrest.