Crime - Sacto 911

Mistrial in murder counts against 2 in Sacramento gang killing

Two men charged in a south Sacramento gang killing three years ago escaped first-degree murder convictions Thursday, but jurors could not reach verdicts on second-degree counts, and Superior Court Judge Allen H. Sumner declared a mistrial.

Marquis Pierre Young, now 32, and Allen Wayne Benzler, 21, were on trial for the April 17, 2011, shooting death of Jesse Fowler, 29, at Warners Rendezvous Lounge near Florin Road and Highway 99.

The jury did convict Benzler, the accused gunman, of assault with a firearm on another man who was wounded in the shooting. The panel also found that the shooting took place for the benefit of Benzler’s street gang. Sumner scheduled Benzler’s sentencing for June 19. Deputy District Attorney Carlton Davis said Benzler is facing a 12- to 16-year state prison term.

Davis said in court he needed to discuss with officials in his office whether to prosecute the two men again. The murder trial would be the third for Young, the subject of a hung jury in the same case last year.

The victim’s relatives said they hope the DA’s Office will try both men again for murder.

“If we have to come back a third time, we’ll come back,” said LaRonda Lott, Jesse Fowler’s mother. “We just want justice done.”

“We’ll do it 10 times if we have to,” said the victim’s wife, LaTonya Fowler.