BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A man seeking resentencing after pleading no contest to multiple felonies in the death of 3-year-old Major Sutton has a status conference set for June after a brief hearing Wednesday in which it was confirmed a defense attorney had been appointed.
Tyrone Johnson is represented by Roger Lampkin in his bid for resentencing under changes to the state’s felony-murder rule. Prosecutors have called Johnson’s petition “baseless,” noting his conviction came after the law changed in 2019.
Johnson, 26, and co-defendant David Palms, 24, accepted plea agreements in August resulting in Johnson being sentenced to 42 years and eight months and Palms to 27 years in prison. They were charged in the Nov. 10, 2017, shooting death of Major, whose pregnant mother and young brother were also wounded.
The felony-murder rule now requires a person to actually commit or aid in a killing, or have the intent to kill, during the commission of a crime in order to be charged with murder. Previously, defendants could be found guilty of murder and sentenced to life terms in prison in cases where they weren’t the actual killer but committed a dangerous felony, such as robbery or burglary, that resulted in death.