Lancaster father gets life in prison for shooting deaths of his 4 kids, mother-in-law

A Lancaster man convicted of the shooting deaths of his four young children and their grandmother as she was babysitting them was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Germarcus Lamar David, 32, was convicted March 12 of five counts of first-degree murder for the Nov. 28, 2021, killings of his 11-year-old daughter, Namiyah, and his three sons, Germarcus Jr., 7, Kayden, 2, and Noah, 1, along with his mother-in-law, Ericka England, 51, who was looking after the children while their mother was having dinner with friends.

Superior Court Judge Denise McLaughlin-Bennett ordered the life prison terms without the possibility of parole to run consecutively, saying, "Each victim deserves this."

The judge said she believed the killings were a "deliberate and intentional act", made with the intention of hurting the children's mother.

"This was not based on a lapse of judgment. This was not based on losing it," she said, noting that there was what appeared to be a "lack of remorse" by the defendant.

Speaking directly to David, the children's mother asked him, "Do you see their faces when you close your eyes? ... Does it keep you up and hunt you all night and day?"

She told David that he was supposed to be their protection, but "were and are the enemy," and told him that he was "dead" to her "the day you took my mom and my babies."

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"I hope you get whatever God has in store for you because you deserve it," the children's mother told the defendant.

Sandra Bauerle, who worked with England at Lancaster State Prison, told David, "I hate what you did to my beautiful friend ... From that day on, my heart has been missing a large piece from it."

She told the judge that David should never see the outside of prison walls again.

The children's grandfather said he would have preferred seeing a death sentence for the convicted killer.

"They had no fear," he said of his grandchildren. "Instead, he was there to hurt them."

Several members of the jury that convicted David were in the Lancaster courtroom as the judge pronounced the sentence.

Deputy District Attorney Vanessa Zuniga had urged jurors to convict David of the most serious charges of first-degree murder, while defense attorney Anna Brief called on the panel to find the lesser option of second-degree murder for a man whom she said did the "unimaginable."

In her closing argument, the prosecutor told jurors that each of the victims was shot multiple times.

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The deputy district attorney told the panel to "hold him responsible for what he did," noting that the prosecution's theory is that David was upset that his then-estranged wife was moving on with her life after seeking a divorce upon learning of his extramarital relationship in which he fathered a child.

"He still wanted to be with her," Zuniga said, telling jurors that he wanted to make his estranged wife feel the way he felt when she "finally said no."

The prosecutor said David called his estranged wife twice as he sat in the driveway after returning home early from his job as a security guard. 

He then allegedly fired 20 shots, with each shot hitting one of his targets, about seven minutes after he entered the family's home.

The prosecutor noted that the shots can be heard on surveillance video from outside the house, with eight initial shots and another nine gunshots 12 seconds later and three louder gunshots starting about two minutes later.

Zuniga, who showed the jury graphic photos of the victims' injuries, said some of the victims were shot with both a gun and a shotgun. She called the killings "willful, deliberate and premeditated."

"He knows what he did," the deputy district attorney said, telling jurors that he "did it to get back" at his estranged wife. "He's finished off those that she loved."

The defendant tossed the gun in a desert area after driving away and then went to a Los Angeles County sheriff's station, where he asked a deputy to detain him and said, "It was a murder," Zuniga told the jury.

David's attorney told jurors the case was "a homicide," and that identification is "not an issue in this case."

The defense lawyer urged the panel to find him guilty of second-degree murder instead of the more serious offense of first-degree murder.

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Brief told jurors that the jealousy was already stewing in her client's head when he heard the children's mother on a phone call catching up with a male friend two days before the killings and that his brain was trying to process that his marriage was dissolving.

David's lawyer said the desperation was building when he found out she was going out to dinner with friends the night of the killing, with the defendant knowing that "his marriage was literally on the brink."

David "didn't want this marriage to end" and wanted to talk things out with his estranged wife, but had difficulty reaching her in phone calls, according to his attorney.

"He shot everyone, but his brain is still in pause," Brief told the jury, noting that his estranged wife responded that she had already told him their marriage was over when he subsequently called her again to ask if they were "really done."

The defense attorney said David was "still processing what he just did" after going to the sheriff's station, saying that it went to the question of premeditation and deliberation.

"Based upon his actions, you can't say that," she said. "He was in such an emotional state."

David's attorney said his client "can't answer" when initially asked by a deputy why he thought he should be detained, saying that he was having "trouble processing."

"He can't answer. ... He had just done the unimaginable," she said.

While at the sheriff's station that night, David wrote a note indicating that he committed a crime and was "sorry," and subsequently told a deputy that there had been a "murder" at his house.

The mother of the four children returned from dinner with friends to find the house on Garnet Lane eerily quiet before spotting the bodies of her children and her own mother, Deputy District Attorney Diane Hong told jurors in her opening statement at the start of the trial.

"I think my husband killed my whole family ... I don't know what to do," the children's mother said in an emotional 911 call.