BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Katila Nash was 15 years old when she participated in a burglary that resulted in the death of 81-year-old Dorothy Session.
Nash and her two co-defendants were convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life terms in prison.
Nash, however, is expected to be released “very soon” due to changes in state law during the past few years, according to prosecutors.
In 2016, Proposition 57 passed, eliminating the ability of prosecutors to directly file charges against juveniles in adult court, as was done with Nash, now 25, and her co-defendants.
Under the new law, juvenile court judges — not the DA — decide whether juveniles will be tried in adult court.
An appellate court in May 2018 decided Nash was entitled to a “retroactive transfer hearing” under Prop 57. If a juvenile court judge decided she should be tried as an adult, her murder conviction would stand. If not, then she could only be held in custody until she’s 25.
But a law that took effect earlier this year made an even greater impact on Nash’s case.
Under SB 1391, anyone 15 or younger can never be transferred to adult court for any crime — including murder.
An appellate court last month ruled SB 1391 applies to Katila Nash. The ruling prevents her from being transferred back to adult court and, because she’s 25, resulted in her upcoming release.
Kern County District Attorney’s office spokesman Joseph Kinzel said Kern and other DA’s offices have been challenging SB 1391, arguing it “impermissibly amends” Prop 57.
In effect, the new law overrides the portion of Prop 57 that stated 14- and 15-year-olds could be tried as adults in certain cases.
Kinzel said appellate courts have split on the issue, and the California Supreme Court is expected to give a ruling in the future regarding the constitutionality of the law.
On April 14, 2010, Katila Nash and David Deshawn Moses entered Session’s house in the 1500 block of Camino Sierra. They thought it was empty and planned to burglarize it.
Upon finding Session home, Moses hit her then he, Nash and Nash’s sister, Angelique Nash, ran from the neighborhood. Angelique Nash had stayed outside to act as a lookout.
They left Session bleeding on the floor. She later died.
Moses was the only defendant to hit Session, but all three were charged with first-degree murder because the prosecution contended Session died as a result of their intent to commit a burglary.
Both Moses and Angelique Nash were 17 at the time.
Moses, now 27, has a status conference in Kern County Superior Court on Jan. 8, records show. He’s serving 25 years to life in prison.
Angelique Nash, 26, is currently serving 25 years to life at Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla.