Sacramento’s gang and homicide prosecutors close out the winter with multiple convictions

Photograph by Markus Spiske

The year 2020 was a shocking one for Sacramento County as its neighborhoods endured the worst spike in gun-related homicides the region had witnessed in a decade. Now, nearly three years later, prosecutors at the Sacramento District Attorney’s Office are still bringing some shooters responsible for that devastation to justice. The last few weeks at Superior Court have been especially busy on this front.

On February 2, a jury found 25-year-old Brelen Page guilty of shooting Tymon “Malik” Rodgers to death in a North Sacramento apartment complex. The crime happened on New Year’s Day of 2021. The case was handled by prosecutor Samuel Alexander, a member of the Sacramento D.A.’s Gangs and Hate Crimes Unit.

During Page’s trail, Alexander presented evidence indicating that Rodgers was visiting friends in the north city as the suspect started circling the area in his vehicle.

“On his final pass, Page produced a 9mm semi-automatic handgun and fired six to eight shots at the victim,” the DA Office wrote in a summary. “One of the rounds struck the victim in the head and he died in the hospital three days later.”

Detectives were able to get a make and model for Page’s vehicle, seizing it the following day. Jurors learned that an unregistered handgun was found inside the car. A ballistics analysis matched it to the same pistol that fired at Rodgers as the calendar was turning.

The jury found Page guilty of murder with a special allegation that he’d ended Rodgers by means of a drive-by shooting. Awaiting sentencing, his maximum exposure is life in prison without parole.

Two weeks after Page was convicted, another prosecutor with the D.A.’s Gangs and Hate Crimes Unit got a victory in court. That case centered on Antwain West, who’d been arrested for shooting two teenagers in McClatchy Park while they were playing basketball.

According to law enforcement, West is a gang member who was driving with several members of his crew on a June afternoon in 2020. One of the men in the Dodge Charger had reportedly been shot not long before that – and everyone assembled in the cab was looking for payback against the rival gang responsible. 

Prosecutor Megan Eixenberger showed the jury evidence that when West and his crew spotted the kids playing hoops, they decided they’d found targets that fit the bill. West stopped the Charger at 5th Street to open fire. One teen was shot directly in the face. The other took a bullet to the chest.

Ultimately, both pulled through. 

Officers reportedly caught up with West as he was arriving home. They searched his car, finding an unregistered gun and a number of shell casings.

On Feb. 23, a jury found West guilty of two counts of assault with a semi-automatic gun while causing great bodily harm. West, who has a prior “strike” for residential burglary, will be sentenced this May. He faces a maximum of 64 years in state prison.

The D.A.’s homicide prosecutors were as busy as its gang experts at the end of February. That included landing convictions for Vincent Taylor and Raymond Butler, who murdered a South Sacramento business owner over a child custody issue. Their victim was Terrance “T.J.” Flournoy, the face behind Freshlines Barbershop on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Flournoy was gunned down in May 2021, passing away days later in the hospital.

Just hours before he was shot, a court had granted Flournoy full custody of his 9-year-old daughter. During a recent trial, prosecutor Mathew Moore showcased evidence that Taylor and Butler had “conspired” to murder their victim after that ruling came down. The two men drove up to Freshlines in a manner that allowed Taylor to get out and start blasting rounds at Flournoy near the front of his business. At that point, according to authorities, Butler acted as an instant getaway driver. Both Taylor, 56, and Butler, also 56, were on parole when they engaged in the killing. Taylor has prior convictions for assault with a firearm, while Butler has done prior stints for kidnapping and robbery.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Maryanne Gilliard will decide their fates in May. Butler’s maximum exposure is 76-years-to-life. Taylor’s is 100-years-to-life.

In an interview with journalist Robert J Hansen, Flournoy’s parents described him as a highly respected, civically minded entrepreneur who worked on homeless issues and was generally “a pillar of the community.”

“My son didn’t deserve that,” said his father, Terrance Flournoy Sr, said standing in front of Freshlines in the aftermath. “He was a hard-working man. He gave to the community.”

One of the most-jarring cases to get resolved was that of Lais Hands, a gang member who opened fire at Mama Marks Park, attempting to kill a rival: In doing so, Hands inadvertently murdered a 9-year-old girl named Makaylah.

The devastating event happened on October 3rd, 2020.

During Hands’ trial in March, prosecutor Kristen Andersen walked jurors through how he and a fellow gangster had driven to the park in Del Paso Heights. They pulled up to send a hail of bullets into the recreation area, Hands pulling the trigger on a 9mm and his unidentified partner using a 40. caliber. Four bystanders in total were shot, including a second child who was 7-years-old. All survived but Makaylah.

Hands has a prior strike under the law for assault with a firearm. Now, having been convicted by a jury on March 6 of murdering a grade-schooler, he faces a maximum sentence of 144 years in state prison.

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