The mother of a woman killed by a blast from an assault weapon brought to a Carmichael apartment party bitterly condemned the brothers convicted in her daughter’s death at the pair’s sentencing Friday in Sacramento.
“What were her last words when you watched her die? Please tell me,” Teresa Ledezma asked Kenyatta Brown, who wore a pained look and wiped away tears, as she stood before a Sacramento courtroom packed with the families of the victim, Joslynn Sovenski, as well as Brown and his brother Keyon.
“I hope you suffer. I hope God punishes you,” Ledezma continued as wracking sobs were heard from both sides of the gallery. “I hope you suffer for the rest of your life because that’s where you belong, behind bars or six feet under.”
Kenyatta Brown, 25, was convicted in September of second-degree murder in the deadly September 2015 shooting. He was sentenced to 40 years to life in state prison – 15 years to life on the murder charge, plus a sentencing enhancement for using a gun that added the 25-year term. His brother, Keyon Brown, 23, was sentenced to three years, eight months of state confinement for his role in the shooting death.
Sovenski, from El Dorado Hills, was 18 when she was killed by a gunshot to the chest from a Tec-22 handgun fired by Kenyatta Brown and brought to the gathering by his brother Keyon, who prosecutors said later hid the weapon and lied to authorities. Keyon Brown was convicted a day after his brother in September of being an accessory and possession of an illegal weapon.
Emotions ran high at trial and during jurors’ verdicts against the brothers. A Brown relative bolted wailing from the courtroom after hearing the second-degree murder verdict against Kenyatta Brown, bringing sheriff’s bailiffs to the scene. Little changed Friday with the wrenching statements from Sovenski’s family.
Attorneys for the brothers had argued that Sovenski shot herself with the weapon while in a bedroom of the apartment with Kenyatta Brown, and that Keyon had tried to cover for his brother only because he was unaware of what had happened. Prosecuting Sacramento County Deputy District Attorney Casey Newton argued that Keyon Brown had sold guns, brought the gun that was used to kill Sovenski to the party and lied to law enforcement.
At sentencing, Kenyatta Brown’s attorney, Russell Miller, again argued that his client did not deserve the jury’s second-degree murder verdict, calling on Sacramento Superior Court Judge Curtis Fiorini to act as a “13th juror” and overturn the decision.
Fiorini declined, ruling evidence showed the gun was fired outside of Sovenski’s reach and that Kenyatta Brown “acted with conscious disregard for human life” when he fired the weapon.
“Pointing a gun is a very dangerous act,” Fiorini said from the bench. “The evidence shows that Brown knew the gun was loaded at the time. Joslynn did not shoot herself.”