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Mom Of Murdered Teen Fights For Justice Against Youth Offender Sentencing Law

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The mother of Grant High School student JJ Clavo, who was shot and killed by a gang member in 2015, spoke out one day after the gunman's conviction.

The killer could be out in less than six years because of SB1391, a controversial new law that limits sentencing for juveniles under 15.

Keymontae Lindsey was tried as a juvenile even though Clavo's family fought to have him tried as an adult. Clavo's mother vows to fight to have SB1391 overturned so other victims will not have to go through the pain she says she will have to go through again in just a few years.

READ MORE: Youth Offender Laws Impacting Minors Tried As Adults In California

"There wasn't really a happy joyful moment. People speak of closure, but I don't really know what closure is," said Dr. Nicole Clavo.

Clavo was there when the verdict was read for her son's killer Keymontae Lindsey. He was found guilty of premeditated first-degree murder.

"I was actually filled with emotion, but nothing will bring my son back and at the end of the day there is still a young man who is losing years of his life to the penal system," Clavo said.

jj clavo
Jaulon "JJ" Clavo (Credit: family photo)

Lindsey killed Clavo while he was on his way to a Grant High School football game with his friends four years ago. Lindsey, a member of the Strawberry Manor Bloods, walked up and opened fire on the car while they were at a stop sign, killing Clavo and hurting another teen.

"I've been praying for Keymontae since day one and I will continue to pray for him. I just hope he understands the impact he has had on all our lives," Nicole Clavo said.

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Lindsey was 15 when he committed the crime. Clavo's family, along with the DA's office, pushed to have him tried as an adult, but earlier this year SB 1391 took effect, eliminating the ability to try a defendant who was 14 or 15 as an adult regardless of the severity of the crime.

The Sacramento District Attorney's office appealed this case to the third district court of appeals and ultimately to the California Supreme Court, which ordered Lindsey be treated as a juvenile and returned to juvenile court with a trial that began last month.

"I am proud of the DA's office. They did a good job. I commend them in the hard work in trying to appeal 1391...[but] we lost," said Clavo.

Because Lindsey was a minor at the time of the murder, the passage of SB1391 means he will be released no later than his 25th birthday.

"SB 1391 traumatizes and puts victims back in the place they were the first day they found out they lost their loved ones," said Clavo.

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For now, she plans to fight gun violence.

"I will continue to fight any laws that are unjust towards victims and I will continue to be a voice in this community," said Clavo.

And when Lindsey gets out of jail, she said she will be there to watch.

"I will be there to watch to see if he has grown as a human, grown as a man," said Clavo.

Clavo does not believe in the death penalty. She said Lindsey's "repayment" would be spending the rest of his life in jail.

She questioned whether six years is enough time to rehabilitate someone guilty of such a heinous crime.

Lindsey's sentencing is set for August 19, 2019, at 1:30 p.m.

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