Daniel Ferrier was a hero by definition, his brother-in-law told a Sacramento courtroom Thursday. As a soldier in Afghanistan and Iraq, Ferrier swore to protect the lives of his fellow Americans. Back home, as a security guard at an Old Sacramento tavern, he made sure people were safe while they were having a good time.
It’s what Ferrier, 36, was doing late New Year’s Eve 2012 – running toward trouble to break up a fight – when he was shot at close range and killed by Carlito Montoya, a Norteño gang member from Sacramento by way of Oakland, on the floor of Sports Corner Café. Beside him, Gabriel Cordova, a 35-year-old husband and father of three out for New Year’s Eve drinks with his wife and friends, also lay dead, killed by Montoya. Two others, including Cordova’s wife and another security guard, were wounded by gunfire amid the chaos.
“Daniel was a man we loved and strived to be like,” Wesley Seymour said, reading from handwritten notes in a composition book. “You robbed the world of a real-life hero.”
Thursday was expected to be the day Montoya, 25, and cohort Charles Fowler-Scholz, 37, were sentenced on first-degree murder charges in the New Year’s Eve killings, but Sacramento Superior Court Judge Cheryl Chun Meegan postponed judgment until June 16 to allow Scholz’s attorney more time to review Scholz’s probation reports.
Meegan allowed Ferrier’s family, many of whom traveled to Sacramento from Oregon, to present a victim impact statement Thursday despite the sentencing delay.
Montoya was not present to hear Seymour’s words. Meegan threw the convicted killer out of her courtroom after Montoya loudly rejected the delay, ignoring pleas from his attorney, Karol Repkow, and family members in the gallery to keep quiet.
“I want to get sentenced as soon as possible,” he said during a heated exchange with Meegan, demanding to be sentenced on murder charges before the judge ordered bailiffs to handcuff Montoya and take him from the courtroom.
Jurors in March needed less than a day to convict Montoya of two counts of first-degree murder for killing Ferrier and Cordova and also attempted murder, weapons and gang charges after the brawl that began after Fowler-Scholz’s wife Amber confronted Cordova over a spilled drink at the bar.
Fowler-Scholz didn’t fire a weapon that night, but prosecutors say he was the key to the fatal events. Fowler-Scholz waived a jury trial and was convicted by Meegan in a court trial in April.
Amber Scholz reached a plea agreement last June to a felony assault charge tied to the shooting deaths and will be sentenced June 24.