Man Involved in Shooting Death of 3-Year-Old Denied New Sentence

BAKERSFIELD, Calif . — One of the two men who pleaded no contest to shooting and killing 3-year-old Major Sutton had his request for a new sentence rejected Wednesday.

Last year, Tyron Johnson pleaded no contest to multiple charges in the shooting that killed Major. He wanted to be resentenced under changes to the state’s felony-murder rule and get a lighter sentence. Prosecutors said the move was “without merit” because Johnson was found guilty after the law changed in 2019.

To be charged with murder, a person must actually kill or help kill someone, or have the intention to kill, while committing a crime.

Before, defendants could be found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison even if they weren’t the actual killer but did commit a risky crime that led to death, like robbery or burglary.

Johnson, who is 26, and David Palms, who is 24, pleaded no contest to voluntary killing, two counts of attempted murder, and other crimes. Under the plea deal, a number of other charges, including first-degree murder, were dropped. Johnson got 42 years and 8 months in jail, and Palms got 27 years.

Palms has also asked for a new sentence, and a hearing is set for September.

On November 10, 2017, someone kicked in the door to a Pershing Street apartment and started shooting, killing Major and hurting his young brother and pregnant mother.

After a 10-month investigation into gang behavior that led to the arrests of more than 40 people, the police found out about the shooting. In 2018, Johnson and Palms were charged.

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