A Jefferson Parish judge on Wednesday (Dec. 15) sentenced Calvin King to a mandatory life sentence in prison for his conviction of the second-degree murder of Javier Sanchez.
Sanchez, 26, was forcibly removed from his Metairie apartment during an armed robbery on the night of Nov. 2, 2007. He was later shot dead.
Judge E. Adrian Adams of the 24th Judicial District Court also sentenced King, 49, to 30 years in prison for his conviction of armed robbery, a crime that preceded Sanchez’s killing. Judge Adams ran the 30-year sentence concurrent to the life sentence.
After a weeklong trial, a Jefferson Parish jury deliberated less than three hours on Oct. 29 in convicting King guilty as charged of both charges.
King and two cohorts, Willie Gross and a still-unidentified man, went to Sanchez’s apartment in the 1900 block of Clearview Parkway, intent on robbing him of two kilograms of cocaine and cash. All three men were armed, according to trial testimony.
Sanchez was away picking up fried chicken for dinner when the trio forced their way into the apartment. Sanchez’s girlfriend was home alone, according to trial evidence. King used gray duct tape to bound her to bed posts, and the trio ransacked the apartment. Sanchez returned and was forced to leave with the intruders, who stole cash and jewelry, according to trial evidence.
About two hours later, a motorist traveling on Interstate 510 in eastern New Orleans spotted Sanchez’s body on the edge of the roadway. He had been shot once in the abdomen.
In closing arguments, Assistant District Attorney Doug Freese held crime scene photographs of Sanchez’s body and referred to King: “That arrogant man decided that he was free to break into someone’s home with his friends and at gunpoint persuade or force him (Sanchez) to leave, to end his life and to dump him on the roadside like trash.”
Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office detectives linked King to the crime through his fingerprint, which crime scene technicians lifted from the roll of duct tape he used to bound Sanchez’s girlfriend. She then was able to identify King from a photographic lineup. At the time of the crime, King lived in Kenner.
Questioned by detectives, King provided a partial confession. “Y’all did y’all homework,” he told them, according to his statement that was presented to the jury. “I duct tape the girl but left before he (Sanchez) got there because I didn’t want to be involved in any of that and you right, Willie was with me but I left and walked back to Kenner.”
King was prosecuted as a principal to the murder. “It does not matter who pulled the trigger,” ADA Freese told jurors of the law of principals. “In for a penny, in for a pound.”
King did not testify. His attorneys attempted to depict Sanchez’s girlfriend as a liar and argued that King was not guilty of armed robbery and second-degree murder.
Gross, now 53, was convicted of second-degree murder and armed robbery in 2011. He is serving a life sentence in prison. After Sanchez was found dead, the vehicle the trio used to abduct Sanchez was found burnt at a vacant home in eastern New Orleans, according to evidence presented in that trial.
This trial was the fourth time juries were seated to weigh evidence against King. During the first two trials, a judge granted the defense attorney’s requests for mistrials. King was convicted by a third jury in 2013. But that same judge later vacated the conviction, and King has been free on bail ever since. That judge has since retired.
Before sentencing King on Wednesday, Judge Adams denied the defense attorney’s motion for post judgement verdict of acquittal and a motion for a new trial.
In addition to ADA Freese, Assistant District Attorney Gabrielle Hosli helped prosecute the case. They were not involved in the previous trials.