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Parents of victim in East Bay road rage shooting upset over DA Pamela Price's refusal to charge killer as adult

Parents of victim in road rage shooting upset over DA Pamela Price's refusal to charge killer as adu
Parents of East Bay road rage victim upset over DA's refusal to charge killer as adult 03:56

SAN LORENZO -- The parents of 30-year-old San Lorenzo resident and newlywed Rienheart Asuncion are grieving the loss of their son and say Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price is victimizing the family yet again by going easy on the killer. 

The newlywed was murdered in September last year, after he got into an argument with people in the car next to him, according to the Alameda County Sheriff's Office.

Asuncion's mother, Anna Tolentino, said the convicted killer, Sergio Morales-Jacquez, who was 17 at the time, emptied the entire clip on her son at the intersection of Lewelling and Hesperian Boulevards. Asuncion had stepped out of the vehicle and was unarmed. 

The sheriff's office said the shooter took off in a stolen car and once identified, detectives learned that he was in custody at the Juvenile Justice Center for unrelated gun charges. He's also linked as a person of interest to two other murders in neighboring jurisdictions at this time. 

It wrote on its Facebook page: 

Due to Morales-Jacquez's extensive and violent criminal history in multiple jurisdictions, a petition was submitted to the Alameda County District Attorney's Office to have Morales-Jacquez charged as an adult. Unfortunately, that petition was denied, and Morales-Jacquez was charged as a juvenile for the murder of Asuncion in March 2023.

Juvenile offenders are held at the Juvenile Justice Center up to the age of 25. Morales-Jacquez, now 18 years old, was sentenced to seven years (but could be afforded probation sooner) for the senseless death of Rienheart Asuncion.

"We are so scared, my family is so scared, but I need to reach out this," said Tolentino. 

She spoke through tears, as she sat next to her husband and Asuncion's stepdad Felix Tolentino. They learned in court that Morales-Jacquez was sentenced to 7 years, but he could be afforded probation sooner, based on good behavior. 

"This is so unfair...I feel sad that this case is only seven years," said Tolentino. "They protect the criminals, I'm a victim... I'm reaching out to Pamela Price, the district attorney for this, to help and protect the victim," she said. 

Price, a progressive prosecutor, has faced criticism for pursuing lenient sentencing. She ran on a platform to end mass incarceration and committed to stop over-criminalizing youth. Specifically, she promised to stop charging youth under 18 as adults.

"This look like a slap in the face, you know? Like 'hey, you're done, that's it, the court, that's the sentence, there's no right justice," she said. 

Tolentino said her son was proud to work at Tesla on the assembly line and enjoyed the outdoors.

"I'm reaching out because nobody going to pay attention with this case," she said. "Because a lot of criminal, murderer, they can do this."

The family added that Morales-Jacquez said he was sorry at the sentencing, and the judge told him that it didn't seem like he really meant it.

He has been reportedly identified as a shooter at an Oakland birthday party where Jazy and Angel Sotelo Garcia, teenage brothers from Berkeley, were killed

That shooting happened less than two weeks after Asuncion's death. 

The Oakland Police Department said its homicide unit advised Morales-Jacquez was identified as a suspect in the double homicide and a witness stated he was one of the shooters. The DA's office declined to press charges.

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