BY JASON KOTOWSKI Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
Sentencing for convicted murderer Maxamillon McDonald was postponed for a second time Thursday, frustrating the victim's family members as they had hoped to reach some closure before Mother's Day.
"He took my mother's life," said Natalie Ramos, the adult daughter of victim Guadalupe Ramos.
Natalie Ramos said she's disappointed with the delay. Some family members had traveled from San Francisco to see McDonald sentenced, and now they have to make plans to return for the new date of June 13.
The postponement was a result of McDonald, 27, substituting another attorney for sentencing. Beverly HIlls attorney Fred Dorton took over the case from Deputy Public Defender Pam Singh at McDonald's request.
Dorton requested a 60-day continuance, but Judge Thomas S. Clark said he believed Dorton could get caught up in 30 days.
"There's been a great deal of inconvenience to the family of the victim, but under the circumstances I'm compelled to grant a continuance," Clark said.
Dorton said outside the courtroom that McDonald's family had contacted him to review the case and conduct a thorough investigation of the facts. He said one concern is that McDonald was charged with murder, but it's the attorney's understanding McDonald was "not really" at the scene.
The law allows a murder charge against someone who participates in a crime that ends in death even if that person had no intention of killing.
Authorities have said McDonald and two others -- Lawrence Slaughter, 29, and Christopher Patterson, 20 -- were involved in the robbery of Guadalupe Ramos. Police said Patterson knocked the 72-year-old Ramos down as he snatched a necklace from her Aug. 19 outside the Foods Co. market on Haley Street.
Ramos died of cardiac arrest due to an irregular heartbeat brought about by blunt force trauma, the coroner's office reported.
After the robbery, Patterson ran to a car occupied by Slaughter and McDonald and they drove away, police said. McDonald was convicted April 8 of murder, robbery and participating in a criminal street gang.
Slaughter was convicted of the same crimes and is scheduled to be sentenced Monday. Patterson's next hearing is scheduled for May 21.