Double murder suspect’s case being handled in juvenile court

A family is outraged after a case involving a man accused of killing their daughters is being handled by the juvenile court because the suspect committed the crime just weeks before his 18th birthday.

The relatives of the slain Westchester sisters say Los Angeles County DA George Gascón is responsible for allowing the case to stay in juvenile court.

"You're hurting families," said Kevin Brown, father of Sierra Brown, said of Gascón. "You're hurting this community. You're tearing LA apart. Your policies are garbage."

Felicia Andrews, the grieving mother of the slain sisters, said Gascón's decision left her feeling angry and hurt.

"It makes me feel like I'm reliving that day all over again," she said.

Back in November 2018, 16-year-old Sierra Brown and 27-year-old Uniek Souvinette Akins were both found dead in their apartment with multiple gunshot wounds. Investigators say, Sierra's ex-boyfriend Donato Cruikshank set the apartment on fire after killing the sisters.

Cruikshank was arrested and was about a month shy of turning 18 at the time of the crime.

Kathy Cady is a former deputy DA turned Marsy's Law attorney. Cady says Gascón ordered this case to stay in juvenile court, which means the most Cruikshank would get, if convicted, would be about seven years in the murder of the two young women.

"Given the premeditation that was involved," Cady said. "The cruelty, the callousness, the coverup… all of those factors... that is just not justice for this family."

The family had a Zoom call with Gascón back in December 2020. They asked Gascón to consider the severity of this case but the family tells FOX 11 that has led them nowhere.

"He told us that he would get back to us and he never did," Felicia said.

FOX 11 reached out to Gascón for comment. We were told he was moved by the tragedy and plans to give the family counseling service opportunities. 

The LA County DA's statement reads, in part:

"…Meanwhile, we remain committed to ensuring that the scales of our criminal justice system are balanced. Incarcerating youths for decades before they fully develop their cognitive skills significantly increases their chances of committing future offenses."

"He didn't steal crayons from Target," Kevin Brown said of the murder suspect. "He took two lives. He took mothers from their kids. He ruined us."

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