A Fresno man was sentenced Monday to 205 years to life in prison for a drive-by shooting that nearly killed three innocent people -- a father and his two young children.
Shalander Givens, 39, told Judge Edward Sarkisian Jr. that he didn't get a fair trial in Fresno County Superior Court.
But Sarkisian denied the motion for a new trial, saying attorney Jane Boulger vigorously defended Givens by filing motions and objecting to inadmissible evidence.
In rejecting the motion, Sarkisian noted that Boulger's work led to a mistrial a year ago when jurors couldn't decide whether Givens was the shooter. Because a mistrial was declared, prosecutors could retry Givens in front of new jury.
In November, a new jury found Givens guilty of three counts of attempted murder, possession of a firearm by a felon and discharging a firearm at an occupied car.
Givens was accused of wounding Antonio Skinner and his then 10-year-old daughter, who was shot in the head. The bullets nearly killed the girl and barely missed Skinner's 5-year-old son as the family drove a black Chevrolet HHR to a relative's home in southwest Fresno.
During the trial, prosecutor Ron Wells told the jury that the Skinner family were victims of mistaken identity.
Skinner and his children had stopped at a stop sign at Plumas Street and Eden Avenue around 8 p.m. on June 25, 2010. An SUV drove past and someone inside riddled Skinner's vehicle with bullets.
Wells told the jury that Givens had armed himself with an assault rifle or machine gun with the intent of shooting rivals who drove a black HHR.
When Givens saw a black HHR stopped at the intersection, he opened fire, leaving 27 shell casings at the scene. But instead of Givens' rivals, Wells said, Skinner and his children became the targets.
Skinner, who was wounded in the thigh, couldn't describe the shooter to police. He was busy using his body to shield his children from gunfire. But a neighborhood resident came forward and told police that Givens was the shooter.
Wells also told jurors that text messages on Givens' cellphone put him at the crime scene when the shooting took place.
Monday, Wells told Sarkisian that Givens' punishment fit the crime. He also said Givens has never shown remorse.
But Boulger said Givens contends "he's factually innocent of the charges."
She also told the judge that 205 years in prison was unfair because no one was killed. She cited the recent case of former Central High basketball coach Loren LeBeau, who was sentenced to 12 years in prison for the drunken-driving hit-and-run death of 7-year-old Donovan Maldonado in July 2012.
In announcing the sentence, Sarkisian said Givens had exhibited "great violence" in shooting the Skinner family.
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