Bee reporters answer questions about area crime news, trends and other issues.
QUESTION: Do you know if anyone was ever caught for the murder of John A. Somers that happened in February 1995? He was at home sleeping in Citrus Heights and someone broke in, then killed him with his own cane.
Submitted by: Lorena, Elk Grove
ANSWER: Donald Lawrence Pequeen was convicted of murdering 70-year-old John Albert Somers during a burglary at Somers' Citrus Heights home Feb. 9, 1995.
He was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole. Now 39 years old, he is in Pelican Bay State Prison in Crescent City.
According to stories in The Bee, Somers, an engineer who had recently retired from the state Department of Water Resources, was bludgeoned to death in his home near the corner of Raintree Drive and Auburn Boulevard. He lived alone and wore a leg brace because of a tractor accident decades earlier.
The prosecutor argued that Pequeen, a drug user and convicted burglar who had been released from prison 31 days before the murder, broke into Somers' home twice in the early morning of Feb. 9.
After murdering Somers during the first break-in, Pequeen bragged about it and returned to the residence with two women.
The women, who were granted immunity, testified that when they entered the house, Somers was dead and lying on his bed. They said they assisted Pequeen in removing a stereo system, a weed cutter and other items from the residence.
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