SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The sentencing for Keymontae Lindsey was continued until Friday, Oct. 4, because of a newly discovered claim that someone else might have killed Jaulon “JJ” Clavo.
Since the last court date on Aug. 5, a December 2018 police report came to the attention of the Sacramento County District Attorney's office. In it, a woman gave a statement to police claiming her then-boyfriend Derrick Henderson told her he was the one who had shot Clavo. This police report was taken for a different, unrelated case, which is why the DA's office says it had flown under their radar until now.
After learning of the statement in this police report, the DA’s office traced Henderson’s steps on the day of Clavo’s murder and discovered that despite working in Marysville that day, he did get off work at 2:30 in the afternoon and would have had just enough time to get to the scene of the crime in Sacramento, if he left right from work.
Still, there was skepticism in the courtroom Monday when it was revealed that this woman claimed Henderson was taking credit for Clavo's killing. Henderson would have been in his late 30s at the time of the shooting, and witnesses have consistently said the killer was a teen.
Assistant Chief Deputy District Attorney Rod Norgaard issued the following statement on Monday’s developments in court:
“Prior to the sentencing of the individual who was convicted for the murder of J.J. Clavo, the District Attorney’s Office became aware of another individual who has previously claimed responsibility for that murder. Regardless of the credibility of that claim, or lack thereof, our ethical obligations as prosecutors require that allegation be disclosed to the attorney representing Keymontae Lindsey and to the Court. Justice demands nothing less.
While it is not unusual in the gang setting for individuals to claim responsibility for criminal conduct that they in fact have no connection to, that allegation has been and will continue to be investigated.
Keymontae Lindsey’s sentencing hearing was continued based on that investigation. Our ethical obligations as prosecutors also prevent us from discussing the factual details of that claim beyond was discussed in open court. Keymontae Lindsey will only be sentenced on his convictions if the Court is satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt of his guilt.”
Lindsey was involved in gang activity at the time of Clavo's murder, investigators have testified, and the rounds that killed Clavo in the driver seat of his car were likely intended for his passenger.
ABC10 spoke with Clavo's mother and Lindsey's mother about this unexpected twist in the case.
“I don’t believe there’s any credibility to this statement," Clavo said. "It’s surprising to us all, and at the same time, I believe justice will still be served. I believe we will be back here on Oct. 4 and we will still receive a sentencing on the case of Keymontae Lindsey.”
"I stand by my son 100 percent that he’s innocent," Lindsey's mom Ranika Moore told ABC10. "There was not enough evidence for his decision to find my son guilty, so today wouldn’t have been the last day, regardless, for me."
She said she learned only after Clavo's death that her son was involved in a gang, and she wants to help other parents recognize the signs.
“We can know our kids; our kids can be one way in front of us and still be involved in things that we’re unaware of," Moore said. "We all need to pay more attention to our kids and be involved in things. Check their phones, just be more in their business.”
Clavo was prepared for Monday to be her final day in court, where she could face her son’s killer and learn his sentence. Now, she’ll have to wait.
“I just wanted it to be done. I wanted this to be the last day, but it’s not, so I will...re-energize, and I will get ready for the fight to continue," Clavo said. “I have fought every part of this process on behalf of my son and other youth and families here in Sacramento.”
For her part, Moore said she'd like the community to be less judgmental.
“My family has been victimized also. Whether Keymontae did commit or did not commit, I didn’t do it, and I shouldn’t be victimized," Moore said. “I think we all should come together to work and try to prevent these situations from happening.”
She added that her "heart goes out to the Clavo family, my deepest condolences.”
The family of Jaulon “JJ” Clavo, a Grant High School student who was fatally shot in 2015 heading to his football game, is not expecting his killer to receive a tough sentence Monday afternoon due in large part because of a new California sentencing law.
Keymontae Lindsey was 15 years old when he started shooting at the car Clavo was driving. Now, at 19, and convicted on of first-degree murder, Lindsey could be facing a reduced sentence because of the recently enacted Senate Bill 1391, which bars minors under the age of 16 to be tried as adults in California.
“Monday is a day of closure for court. It's not a day of closure for emotions and feelings but it's a day of closure that I never have to be in court again for that matter,” Clavo’s mother Dr. Nicole Clavo recently told ABC10.
Earlier this month, Lindsey, 19, was found guilty on three charges: first-degree murder with a firearm, first-degree attempted murder with a firearm and firing a firearm into an occupied motor vehicle. Lindsey's sentencing is expected to come down at 1:30 p.m. at the Sacramento County Superior Court.
- 'It's not a day of closure' for JJ Clavo's mother as sentencing nears for her son's killer
- Judge returns guilty verdict for murder of Grant Union High School student JJ Clavo
- Families of murder victims speak out against new California prison reform laws
Because Lindsey was only 15 when he killed Clavo, SB1391 would allow him to be free in four years at the age of 23. Lindsey has bounced around between adult and juvenile court mainly due to SB 1391, but Clavo’s mother has fought to have him tried as an adult and is calling on state officials to overturn the law.
Superior Court Judge Michael Sweet, who presided over the juvenile court trial, added a gang enhancement that could increase his punishment. Judge Sweet said evidence suggests a gang rivalry between the Del Paso Heights Bloods and the Strawberry Manor Bloods. Lindsey was active with the Strawberry Manor gang and was targeting Clavo's passenger, Malik Johnson.
Although Lindsey was aiming for Johnson, the judge said, the legal doctrine of transferred intent says it doesn't matter that he missed his target and killed Clavo instead. Judge Sweet said premeditation for Johnson's killing transfers over to Clavo.
ABC10 will be covering Lindsey's sentencing Monday afternoon. We will add updates as more information becomes available.