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01-13-09, 01:04 AM #1
Life Without Parole for Cop-Killer
Oceanside cop-killer, 18, gets life without parole
By Matthew Rodriguez (Contact) Union-Tribune Staff Writer
1:34 p.m. January 12, 2009
VISTA — A gang member convicted of killing Oceanside police officer Dan Bessant two years ago was sentenced Monday to life in prison without parole.
In Vista Superior Court, Penifoti Taeotui, 18, was sentenced to 56 years in prison for two counts of assault with a deadly weapon and a consecutive term of life without parole for one count of murder.
Judge Runston “Tony” Maino said there had been prior shootings in the Mesa Margarita neighborhood, and “I just can't understand this sort of thing.” He called it a “sad decision” but said it wasn't a “particularly difficult one.”
Taeotui was in custody in the courtroom wearing a green jumpsuit. His mother wept in the back of the room when the sentence was read.
In an attempt to get a lower sentence, Taeotui's attorney, Wil Rumble, argued that his client was 16 at the time of the shooting Dec. 20, 2006, and wasn't the one who fired the fatal shot.
“In no way can you say that they're equally culpable,” Rumble said.
Jury selection in the trial of Meki Gaono, a gang member accused of firing the fatal round with a rifle from 386 feet away, is scheduled to begin Feb. 27. Prosecutors say a third man remains a suspect.
Prosecutors allege the teens were drinking beer in a front of a home on Arthur Avenue when they fired at Bessant, another officer, and a civilian ride-along about 6:20 p.m.
Bessant, 25, who was acting as backup at a traffic stop, was hit once. He had been married for just over a year and had a six-month-old son.
“The group in the front yard stole his life,” his father, Steve Bessant, told the judge. He said he is often reminded of his son, whether he is spending time with his grandson or seeing an empty chair at the dinner table.
“While I wish the best for you, I do not trust you,” he told Taeotui. “I am aware of no desire to change.”
In court Monday, two of Taeotui's teachers from Juvenile Hall said he had behaved well in class and had been a role model to other students in obtaining his diploma. Two of Taeotui's uncles and a football coach asked the judge to grant Taeotui a possible parole.
Bessant's father, a police officer and Oceanside Police Chief Frank McCoy urged Maino to deny the possibility of parole. “Today is about sending a loud and clear message that police officers' lives will not be at risk because they stand up for those that look at them for help,” McCoy said.Molly Weasley makes Chuck Norris eat his vegetables.
Do not puff, shade, skew, tailor, firm up, stretch, massage,
or otherwise distort statements of fact.FBI Special Agent Coleen Rowley
01-13-09, 01:14 AM #2
They should have given him parole without life.SI VIS PACEM PARA BELLUM-Ex-Sheriff Martin Howe to Will Kane in "High Noon"
"It's a great life. You risk your skin catching killers and the juries turn them loose so they can come back and shoot at you again. If your honest , your poor your whole life. And , In the end , you wind up dying all alone on some dirty street. For what? For nothing. For a tin star."
Far from being a handicap to command, compassion is the measure of it. For unless one values the lives of his soldiers and is tormented by their ordeals , he is unfit to command.
-General Omar Bradley, United States Army
01-13-09, 02:03 AM #3
Hope he enjoys livng the next 60 years in Segregation in that nice little 10 by 12 cell with one hour a day to walk around a small patio for exercise.
In population, he goes right to the top of the food chain as a cop killer and automatically becomes a target for any banger who wants to make a rep. Since we can't have that, he basically gets to live in a cave by himself forever.....lotsa luck with your diploma, asswipe!
Car 4I would like my country back. I used to believe that one man could never destroy this country. Not so sure anymore!
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