Crime - Sacto 911

Plea deals settle two Sacramento homicide cases

Two men accused of murder pleaded guilty and no contest Tuesday to the reduced charge of voluntary manslaughter.

Kenneth Donald Azlin pleaded guilty in the March 27, 2013, stabbing death of his step-grandfather, Roy Shier, 65, in the victim’s residence on the 6200 block of Coyle Avenue in Carmichael.

Thecree Brown pleaded no contest to the April 22, 2012, gang-related shooting death of Ubaldo Barraza, 25, in the 4500 block of Arlington Avenue in the unincorporated south Sacramento area.

Azlin, 28, claimed that he had been sexually molested as a youth by Shier, and his lawyer, Greg Foster, said the victim “reinitiated unwanted sexual touching” with the defendant just before the killing. Azlin was visiting his grandparents on his way home to Taft in Kern County.

Foster said Shier had been sexually molested by his own father. The lawyer added that there was evidence that Shier had molested two other victims besides Azlin, and that Judge Marjorie Koller was going to allow some testimony to that effect at the trial.

“It’s just sad all around,” Foster said.

Under the terms of his plea bargain, Azlin is expected to be sentenced to 12 years in prison when he returns to court on Jan. 2.

Brown, 22, shot and killed Barraza to conclude what had been almost a daylong confrontation with gang overtones between him and his friends who were lined up against neighbors and their acquaintances in the area near Franklin Boulevard and 21st Avenue.

According to testimony at Brown’s preliminary hearing, Barraza may have been trying to act as a peacemaker in the moments before he was fatally shot. Brown was in a confrontation with two friends of Barraza’s, and the victim was pulling one of them away from pursuing the confrontation, one witness testified.

“It wasn’t clear, but there was some evidence to suggest” that Barraza, just before he was shot, may have been trying to “defuse” the combatants who were angry with Brown, Deputy District Attorney Morgan Gire said.

Witness credibility questions led prosecutors to offer the plea deal, according to Gire.

Brown is facing a 31-year term at his scheduled March 6 sentencing in front of Judge Eugene L. Balonon. Under his plea, Brown is slated to receive 11 years for manslaughter, 10 years for the use of a gun and 10 more years for shooting to benefit his street gang.

Editor’s note: Previous online versions of this story incorrectly identified the defense attorney for Kenneth Azlin. His name is Greg Foster

Call The Bee’s Andy Furillo, (916) 321-1141. Follow him on Twitter @andyfurillo.