For Immediate Release
Susan Kang Schroeder
GANG MEMBER SENTENCED TO LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE PLUS 30 TO LIFE FOR ROLE IN SHOOTING-MURDER OF TEEN
SANTA ANA – A gang member was sentenced today to life in state prison without the possibility of parole plus an additional 30 years to life for his role in the shooting-murder of a 16-year-old. Sarith Yin, 25, Santa Ana, was found guilty by a jury Jan. 19, 2012, of one felony count each of murder, street terrorism, possession of a firearm by a felon, and sentencing enhancements for murder committed for a criminal street gang purpose, criminal street gang activity, and the vicarious discharge of a firearm by a gang member causing death. Yin has a prior strike conviction for street terrorism in 2008 and prior convictions for second degree burglary and possession of gang-related burglar tools in 2008 and vehicle theft in 2005.
Yin’s co-defendant, John Saway, 25, is charged (Case #10CF0133) with one felony count each of murder, street terrorism, possession of a firearm by a felon, attempted murder, assault with a firearm, and sentencing enhancements for murder committed for a criminal street gang purpose, criminal street gang activity, the vicarious discharge of a firearm by a gang member causing death, and the personal use of a firearm. Saway has a prior strike conviction for possession of a firearm by a felon for the benefit of a criminal street gang in 2008 and prior convictions for possession of a firearm by a felon in 2008 and vehicle theft in 2005. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole plus an additional life sentence. He is scheduled to face jury trial April 23, 2012, in Department C-45, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
The following facts were presented in the trial against Yin. Saway is accused of the following:
At approximately 2:00 a.m. on Jan. 10, 2010, a confrontation erupted on a Tustin residential street between a group of male teenagers and Santa Ana criminal street gang members. The gang members returned to a nearby apartment and called Yin and Saway.
Upon receiving the call, Yin and Saway armed themselves with semi-automatic firearms and drove from Santa Ana to Tustin. The teenagers on the street fled into nearby apartments, except for 16-year-old Carlos Rodriguez and 16-year-old Jane Doe, who attempted to hide behind a tree.
Saway is accused of approaching the tree and shooting at the victims. Yin positioned himself to provide cover for his co-defendant. When Rodriguez and Jane Doe tried to run for safety, Saway is accused of shooting Rodriquez in the back. The bullet pierced the victim’s heart and exited his chest.
A man in a nearby apartment, John Doe, came out of the residence with a rifle and began shooting back at the defendants, enabling Jane Doe to escape. Yin then fired at John Doe as he the defendants ran to their car to flee. Co-defendant Ruon Phi Keo, who is charged in this case (Case #10CF0133), is accused of waiting in the car as a get-away driver.