Man sentenced to 77 years to life in downtown Bakersfield shooting

  • In US
  • 2023-02-09 02:03:00Z
  • By The Bakersfield Californian

Feb. 8-A man was sentenced to 77 years to life in prison Wednesday for shooting another man in his back while the victim walked in downtown Bakersfield.

"The victim is very lucky to have survived and the defendant is very lucky to not have killed anybody else," said deputy district attorney Cyrus Shahbazian during the hearing prior to sentencing.

The victim and two of his friends walked on 19th Street outside of Hart Hotel in the early morning hours of March 14, 2021. They noticed Derrick Rice, 39, was following them with two other people, according to a news release from the Kern County District Attorney's Office.

Rice fired multiple times at the victim as he crossed M Street. A bullet pierced his shoulder and left the front of his body, prosecutors said. A Kern County jury convicted Rice of attempted murder, assault with a firearm on a person, possession of a firearm by a felon and having ammunition despite illegally having a firearm.

Defense attorney Victor Nasser said it's still unknown the circumstances immediately preceding the incident, and asked for his client to be sentenced to 23 years. Rice denied shooting anyone when interviewed by police, despite being confronted by video surveillance, Shahbazian said during the hearing.

This offense was Rice's third strike, or third serious or violent felony conviction. California's "Three Strikes Law" mandates a person with two or more serious or violent felony convictions automatically receive a minimum of a 25-year-to-life sentence.

Rice was convicted in 2002 of grand theft, two counts of residential burglary in 2003 and burglary in 2007, according to Judge John R. Brownlee.

Rice was also convicted of having a controlled substance after 2007 and unlawfully having a gun in 2016, Brownlee added. Rice could not legally possess guns because he is a felon.

"I do think his sentencing ... is appropriate given the conduct in this particular case and just the blatant disregard for the safety" of anyone around during the time of the shooting, Shahbazian added.

You can reach Ishani Desai at 661-395-7417. You can also follow her at @_ishanidesai on Twitter.


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