Tevita Kaihea and Charlie Hola were convicted of murder in a deadly September 2015 shooting on the grounds of Sacramento City College, in a courtroom heavy with security Wednesday.
The daylight melee Sept. 3 on a campus parking lot left 25-year-old Roman Gonzalez shot dead, Hola stabbed and another person wounded, and threw the campus and surrounding neighborhood into chaos.
Gonzalez’s death was the bloody end to a two-day crime spree by Kaihea and Hola, now 22. The string of crimes included the Sept. 2 robbery of a south Sacramento home and the shooting of the robbery victim the next day after he recognized the pair, along with an armed take down of a Florin Road chicken carryout and the theft of a minivan from a south area light rail station hours before the City College shooting.
On Wednesday, jurors said Kaihea fired the shots that killed Gonzalez, convicting him of first-degree murder, along with two counts of robbery, auto theft, gun crimes and of killing Gonzalez in service to the Tongan Crips street gang.
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The verdict before Sacramento Superior Court Judge Maryanne Gilliard sparked an angry reaction from a Kaihea relative who stood in the back of the courtroom, blurted an expletive and exchanged words with bailiffs before punching a wall. Kaihea wiped away tears as he absorbed the verdict.
Amid already heavy security for the hearing, Gilliard sounded an alarm that brought yet more sheriff’s deputies to escort the man from the building.
Jurors did not convict Hola of first-degree murder, but found him guilty of second-degree murder in Gonzalez’s killing. Hola was stabbed four times in the deadly parking lot scrum and spent time in a local hospital before he was jailed.
Hola was also convicted of second-degree robbery and gun crimes in connection with the fatal brawl, but Gilliard sent jurors back to deliberate after they failed to complete verdict forms for a lesser included count against Hola.
Gilliard set a May 18 sentencing date for the pair on all other counts in Sacramento Superior Court.