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Home » Santa Clarita News » Sheriff News » UPDATE: Trial To Start In September For Alleged Gang Members In 2011 Killing
UPDATE: Trial To Start In September For Alleged Gang Members In 2011 Killing

UPDATE: Trial To Start In September For Alleged Gang Members In 2011 Killing

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED 2014-06-16 11:35:41 -0700

A pretrial hearing Monday delayed the trial of three then-teens accused of fatally shooting man in an alleged robbery that turned deadly on Halloween 2011.

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The “Halloween trio,” Diamonte Jerome McGhee, 20, Branden Trevaughn Higgs, 19, and Eric Michael Edwards, 20, were all under 18 when they initially were arrested on charges they were involved in the death of Alex Sanchez and wounded Ricardo Sandoval during a robbery gone awry Oct. 21, 2011.

“The next hearing is Aug. 11 for a status conference with Aug. 28 slated for jury trial,” according to an email from Shiara Davila-Morales of the District Attorney’s Office. “Jury selection is expected to begin on Sept. 2.”

Santa Clarita Valley emergency responders work to save the life of a shooting victim on Halloween 2011

From a previous story:

The three suspects allegedly met with the victims over the purchase of a game system. The exact circumstances of the robbery is unknown, but there was reportedly a dispt

McGhee produced a handgun and shot Sanchez in the chest and when Sandoval attempted to run away, McGhee shot him in the leg, according to a criminal complaint.

All three defendants are facing five felony counts of murder, attempted murder, murder with special circumstances, conspiracy to commit a crime and second degree robbery.

Edwards has been in custody since April 30, 2012, for the crime, Higgs has been in custody since Aug. 27, 2012, and McGhee has been in custody since Jan. 27, 2012.

While the murder charge comes with a possibility of the death penalty, District Attorney spokesperson Jane Robison said that the court will not seek the death penalty for anyone under the age of 18, even though they are being tried as adults.

“With the special circumstances, they could go away for life,” she explained.

Related article: Juvenile Trio In Canyon Country Shooting To Be Tried As Adults

The more serious charges are leveled at McGhee, for using the gun. He is facing 25 years to life without parole. If convicted, all three face incarceration in state prison.

All three are being charged as adults, and being held without bail in Men’s Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles.

A memorial fund was established to help the victims.

Related article: Fund Established For Good Samaritan Killed In Robbery Attempt

All three are being held without bail in Men’s Central Jail.


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UPDATE: Trial To Start In September For Alleged Gang Members In 2011 Killing

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About Perry Smith

Perry Smith is a print and broadcast journalist who has won several awards for his focused, hyperlocal community coverage in several different regions of the country. In addition to five years of experience covering the Santa Clarita Valley, Smith, a San Fernando Valley native, has worked in newspapers and news websites in Los Angeles, the Northwest, the Central Valley and the South, before coming to KHTS in 2012. To contact Smith, email him at