Sacto 9-1-1
August 5, 2011
Murderer sentenced to 50 years to life in prison

A teenager who shot and killed a man after an argument on a light rail train in Rancho Cordova was sentenced today to 50 years to life in prison.

Deandre Dwayne Rooks, 21, was convicted in June of first-degree murder for the shooting death of Juan Carlos Sanchez, 21.

According to the evidence at trial, Sanchez, who had been drinking and was carrying a cup that smelled of vodka, asked Rooks for a cigarette when the two got on board the train at the Mather Road station. When Rooks refused, the two got into an argument. A security guard kicked them both off the train at Zinfandel Road.

The two then went behind a department store to fight each other, when Rooks, who was accompanied by several friends, took out a gun and shot Sanchez six times, including three times in the back, according to the trial testimony.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Helena R. Gweon called the murder "brutal, senseless and cowardly."

"Mr. Rooks, on the night of the murder, you were sober -- Juan Carlos was not," the judge said. "You had five people with you. Juan Carlos was alone. You had a gun. Juan Carlos had a styrofoam cup in his hand"

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