Decision to make plea deal with dad questioned

May 4, 2010 9:00:29 PM PDT
On Tuesday morning, a father pleaded guilty to killing his own kids and setting their bodies on fire two year ago. By pleading guilty, /*Randy Sylvester*/ avoids the death penalty and got a life sentence. It's a decision the district attorney defends, but won't explain. On father's day 2008, Sylvester killed his own children, 7-year-old Randy Jr, and 3-year-old Denim. He then lit their bodies on fire.

Five days after their death, Sylvester led activist Quanell X to their remains in a Pasadena field.

"I kept saying to him, 'We don't have to walk all the way. Just point the direction and we'll tell the detectives to go look,' Community Activist Quanell X said. "And he said, 'No, don't you want to see? Don't you want to see?'"

While they were walking, sylvestor told Quanell X he would beat this charge by acting crazy.

"He said he was going to play crazy," Quanell X said. "When we were walking with the investigators, he was playing crazy for them, but he was sane as hell with me."

Sylvester eventually confessed but was judged incompetent to stand trial two years ago.

On Tuesday, after psychiatric treatment, he is competent and pleaded guilty.

The district attorney agreed to take the death penalty off the table in exchange for a life sentence without parole.

Sylvester's lawyers say it was a good deal.

"His mental health issues would've been the overwhelming issue in the case," Sylvester's Attorney Jerome Godinich said.

The elected District Attorney Pat Lykos, who's sought just one new death sentence since taking office a year and a half ago, says won't say why she agreed to the deal.

"There were plea bargain discussions as there should be in every case," Lykos said. "And I am not going to reiterate to you the various facts of this case. I thoroughly reviewed it; it was my decision to make."

But not everyone agrees with it.

Stephen Saint Martin, who worked the case before leaving the DA's office, told ABC13, "It was disgusting. Sylvester deserves the death penalty, what more (does the DA) need?"

And Quanell X who's marched against capital punishment in the past told us,

"I believe there was no one more fitting of the death penalty than him," Quanell X said.

"I think he played the crazy game. He played the crazy game well, but I am telling you this brother wasn't crazy," he said. " This brother was wicked. Sick and evil, but a long way from crazy."

Quannel X says he and the children's family are both thankful they don't have to go through this trial but would've testified.


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