Crime - Sacto 911

Man to spend life in prison for fatal shooting at Natomas park birthday party

Avery Hill was sentenced Monday, Nov. 14, 2016, to life in prison on murder and attempted murder charges for his role in an ambush of rivals at Peregrine Park in Natomas in May 2014 that killed Jacoby James, 29.
Avery Hill was sentenced Monday, Nov. 14, 2016, to life in prison on murder and attempted murder charges for his role in an ambush of rivals at Peregrine Park in Natomas in May 2014 that killed Jacoby James, 29. lsterling@sacbee.com

Avery Marques Hill, convicted in September of first-degree murder in a deadly 2014 birthday party shooting at a Natomas park, will spend the rest of his days in state prison, a Sacramento judge ruled at the man’s sentencing this week.

Hill, 24, was sentenced Monday in Sacramento Superior Court to a life term for murder and attempted murder in the fatal shooting of Jacoby James, 29. Co-defendant Kelly Thomas, 24, was sentenced in September to life in prison on murder and attempted murder charges for his role in an ambush of rivals at Peregrine Park in Natomas in May 2014. Six others were wounded, including a 7-year-old girl.

Six people were wounded in the shooting, including a 7-year-old girl.

A third man, Orlando Rhinehart, was acquitted of charges in connection with the shooting.

Prosecutors at trial argued Hill and Thomas fired the deadly rounds in a revenge attack against a group of men who Thomas had suspected of ambushing him at his north area apartment complex in February of that year.

Thomas narrowly escaped the February shooting believed to have been payback for the 2013 shooting death of Lawrence Smith, said to have been the leader of the rival group, at Smith’s apartment near Sacramento’s Pocket area.

The Peregrine Park shooting happened at a birthday party for the fallen Smith’s 1-year-old son. Smith’s shooting remains unsolved.

Darrell Smith: 916-321-1040, @dvaughnsmith

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