The government notched another mega sentence in its high-profile Down Below gang prosecution, and this one came to an emotional close when the sister of one of the murder victims addressed the defendant directly.
More on knowing your brother's killer, after the jump
Edgar Diaz pleaded guilty to murdering Kenya Taylor, along with two others. Taylor’s sister Jamaica expressed her sorrow at losing her brother, and also described how she had known Diaz from their youth, “kicked it, went to school together, the whole deal.”
She said she hoped Diaz can rehabilitate during his 40-year prison sentence, calling him a victim of his environment.
“On today, a day like today, when we just swore in our first African-American president, our first black president, and you can’t even reap the benefits of it,” she said.
The defendant chose not to say anything to San Francisco federal Judge William Alsup, and the judge accepted the plea deal. That means Emile Fort is the sole remaining alleged Down Below member who has not pleaded out. The Northern District U.S. attorney’s office had agreed to a plea deal, but the bosses at main justice overrode their decision.
Diaz’s lawyer, Tony Tamburello, asked Alsup to put Diaz in a federal prison in California so Diaz could be close to his daughter. The defendant was born addicted to crack and suffered at the hands of his mother, Tamburello argued in his sentencing papers. But Alsup wouldn’t go along, calling Diaz a high security risk.
Opening arguments in Fort’s death penalty trial are slated for Feb. 23.
— Dan Levine