The men accused of gunning down two brothers outside a Fruitridge Road strip mall in May will not face the death penalty in the slayings, a Sacramento prosecutor said Thursday.
Hieu Hoang, 20, and Richard Saterfield, 22, each face two counts of murder in the deadly daylight shootings of 19-year-old Daniel Robert Murti and his younger brother, Sergio Murti, 15, just blocks from the brothers’ home on Nina Way.
Hoang and Saterfield remain held at Sacramento County Main Jail without bail in the slayings ahead of a Feb. 23 court appearance, the final one before a yet-to-be-scheduled preliminary hearing in the case, attorneys said Thursday.
Hoang and Saterfield did not appear for the morning hearing and homicide prosecutor Jeff Hightower’s announcement. Defense attorneys waived their appearances.
But members of the Murti brothers’ family attended the court date and were upset by Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office’s decision not to try the killings as a capital case.
“They shot them to kill them. It’s not fair. Sergio was a baby himself,” said Elena Maldonado, the teen brothers’ cousin, outside Sacramento Superior Court Judge Patrick Marlette’s courtroom.
The Murti brothers were walking along the 5200 block of Fruitridge about noon May 11, 2017, when prosecutors say they were fired upon by two men carrying .40-caliber handguns. Both brothers were felled in the strip mall’s parking lot. Witnesses told authorities two people drove away from the shootings in a light-colored sport-utility vehicle.
Hoang and Saterfield were each arrested in the days after the gun killings. Hoang was arrested May 12 by Sacramento County sheriff’s detectives. Saterfield turned himself over to authorities May 13.
Thursday’s court hearing was in marked contrast to Hoang and Saterfield’s tense, emotionally charged May arraignment when a heavy security presence watched warily over the families of the brothers and their alleged killers.
But Murti family members spoke bitterly of their loss as they await the February hearing.
“We have nothing to look forward to than to put flowers on their graves,” said aunt Josette Bruno.