A 23-year-old man from Richmond was sentenced Friday to life in prison with no chance of parole for shooting and killing a Sacramento teenager two years ago during a marijuana robbery.
Jazz Kaylenn Curry was one of two men from the East Bay city convicted in January of first-degree murder and robbery in the Jan. 30, 2012, death of Tralane Thomas, 19. The other defendant, Christopher Corey Compton, 21, filed a motion for a new trial. Sacramento Superior Court Judge Steve White delayed Compton’s sentencing until April 3.
Friends and relatives of Thomas filled the courtroom for Friday’s proceeding. In their statements to the court, they remembered Thomas as a nice kid who loved basketball and maintained close and loving relationships with his family members.
“Even though Tre may have steered off his intended path briefly, he knew that he was happiest playing basketball,” his mother, Kimberly McCarter, told the judge. “He and I discussed that he would enroll in classes in the fall and play for a junior college, until the time came for him to progress to bigger endeavors.”
She told Curry and Compton, “I implore you to ask God for forgiveness and that you will one day manage to forgive yourselves for ending another young black man’s life.”
According to testimony at trial, Curry and Compton were visiting with friends who lived on Bicentennial Way, near Folsom Boulevard and Howe Avenue, when they went out to look to buy some marijuana. They came across Thomas, who sold them some, witnesses said. Authorities said the two defendants then made a plan to rob Thomas, and they called him to arrange another rendezvous on Bicentennial, the one that turned into the fatal robbery shooting.
Thomas’ girlfriend testified he told her he had an uneasy feeling about the second meet-up. She said he’d only been gone from her place a minute or so when she heard five to seven gunshots.
Authorities named Curry as the gunman. Compton, however, also was armed – as was Thomas, investigators said.
Earnest Johnson, who identified himself in court as a friend of Thomas’ incarcerated father, told Curry and Compton, “I used to be in the streets. Things like this happen.” He asked them to “find it in your hearts to write the mother and father for forgiveness.”
Curry’s probation report said he never knew his father and that his mother bounced between jail and the streets during his childhood. The report said he lived in group and foster homes. His record showed juvenile and adult convictions for weapons possession.
In his elocution, Curry responded with an apology that his veteran attorney, Assistant Public Defender Amy Rogers, said in court was one of the most heartfelt she’s ever heard from any of her clients.
“I’m man enough to tell you I was selfish, immature – I didn’t see how this would affect that next family,” Curry said, turning to face the courtroom that was filled with Thomas’ loved ones. “It didn’t have to be like this. I was just being greedy.”
Deputy District Attorney Amy Holliday said she and Thomas’ mother and his other friends and relatives appreciated Curry’s remarks.
Judge White called the case a “three-cornered tragedy ... the tragic loss of one man’s life and the squandering of two other young men’s lives.”
Call The Bee’s Andy Furillo, (916) 321-1141. Follow him on Twitter @andyfurillo.