SYLMAR (CNS) - The family of an 18-year-old man who was stabbed to death while playing handball at Reseda's Cleveland High School in 2013 tried unsuccessfully today to bar one of his killers from being resentenced as a juvenile.
Anthony Carpio, of Panorama City, and his brother, Michael Steve Carpio of Pacoima -- both gang members -- were convicted on Oct. 31, 2015, of second-degree murder in the death of Kevin Orellana.
Anthony, who was 16 years old when he pulled a knife and stabbed Orellana multiple times, was sentenced to 16 years to life in prison.
His older brother Michael, who was an adult at the time of the April 24, 2013, killing and was apparently unarmed during the attack, was sentenced to 15 years to life behind bars.
Under Proposition 57, passed in 2016, prosecutors must seek the court's approval to try minors as adults. Attorneys for Anthony Carpio filed a writ of habeas corpus arguing that he should have been convicted as a juvenile offender.
Last year, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Martin Herscovitz – who presided over the Carpio trial -- granted Anthony a transfer hearing in juvenile court to determine whether he should have been treated as a juvenile or an adult.
On Monday, however, Judge Morton Rochman declined to hold such a hearing, instead ruling outright that the case would be handled in juvenile court and scheduling a disposition hearing for next week.
A disposition order is the juvenile equivalent of sentencing.
An attorney for Orellana's family, who filed a motion seeking to uphold Herscovitz' original order for a hearing, accused the prosecution of working in tandem with defense attorneys.
“It's our position that the district attorney's office is colludingwith the defense to try to get the judge to not do a transfer hearing,'' Kathy Cady told City News Service.
Cady, a retired deputy district attorney and pro bono victims' rights lawyer, pointed to District Attorney George Gascon's youth justice policy, which dictates that minors will no longer be tried in adult court.
Treated as a juvenile, Carpio would be under the jurisdiction of the Division of Juvenile Justice, which typically doesn't hold detainees beyond their 25th birthday.
Carpio is already 25, according to state prison records, and Cady warned that he could be released from custody after Monday's hearing.
Carpio is otherwise eligible for parole in 2026, according to state prison records.
Orellana's father and brother appeared in court Monday, but did not make a statement to the court. They plan to speak at next Monday's disposition hearing, according to their lawyer.
“This whole process has left the entire family feeling like no one has their back, and the criminal justice system has forgotten them,'' Cady said. “They just feel very abandoned.''
The D.A.'s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the case.
According to trial testimony, the Carpio brothers approached Orellana - - who was not a gang member -- as he played handball and issued a gang challenge. Witnesses said a fight ensued and testified that Anthony Carpio stabbed Orellana.
Cady said the older brother was fighting Orellana when Anthony approached from behind and stabbed the victim 10 times in the head, neck and upper body.
A statement from the victim's family, read in court at the brothers' original sentencing by Deputy District Attorney Scott Marcus, said Orellana “was as significant to our family as water is to life. Not a moment goes by that any one of us can experience an event like we did before Kevin was senselessly murdered. We have a very loving, close family and spend a lot of time together. You cannot imagine what it is like to wake up every day missing a piece of your soul.''
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