A parolee was sentenced to death Thursday for murdering three people and trying to kill two others in Downey while posing as a prospective buyer of a Chevrolet Camaro.
Jade Douglas Harris — who was prosecuted under prior Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey’s administration — is the first person to be sentenced to death during current District Attorney George Gascon’s administration.
Superior Court Judge Raul A. Sahagun refused to allow a statement to be read in court on behalf of Gascon, according to Deputy District Attorney John McKinney. The county’s top prosecutor reiterated in that statement that he “does not believe the death penalty is an appropriate punishment in any case” and asked that the court consider Gascon’s policy on the death penalty “in exercising its sentencing discretion in this matter.”
The judge, who had earlier denied a motion for a new trial, also rejected an automatic motion to reduce the jury’s March 2020 recommendation of death for the 39-year-old defendant to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
In a Tweet posted shortly before the sentencing, McKinney called it “one of the most horrendous crimes I ever prosecuted.”
“If he committed the same murders today, DA Gascon wouldn’t charge special circs (circumstances) or gun allegations and Harris would be eligible for parole after just 20 years,” the prosecutor wrote in his Tweet.