Courts

Prosecutors move to charge second suspect in Betschart killing as an adult

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A man arrested as a teenager for the murder of Jaylen Betschart has a hearing currently pending for a transfer from juvenile court, The Update has learned.

Deshaun Curtis-Simmons, the stepson of the 29th Street Crip sentenced to life without parole for gunning down the Sac High student athlete in October of 2020, is set to make his next appearance in court on October 6th, according to an online calendar.

Because juvenile proceedings are sealed, court officials and prosecutors wouldn’t speak with The Update about the possibility of a transfer hearing for Simmons, but a tidbit included in a document filed by prosecutors at Slaton’s trial revealed the hearing’s existence and suggests it could come soon.

“Mr. Curtis-Simmons was arrested for gun possession and ultimately charged with murder in this case,” Deputy District Attorney Bret Wasley wrote in a brief outlining the state’s plan for trying Slaton. “He is currently awaiting a transfer hearing pursuant to Welfare and Institution Code section 707(b).”

Under section 707(b), prosecutors can file a petition with the court to transfer anyone older than 16 accused of committing several serious felonies, including murder, to a criminal jurisdiction. In this case, Curtis-Simmons would be moved from being tried at the B.T. Collins Juvenile Justice Center on Kiefer Boulevard to the Superior Courthouse on 9th Street.

Following the submission of a probation report on the minor’s behavioral patterns and social history, the court will decide at a hearing whether to transfer them to criminal court by weighing a number of factors including criminal sophistication, the minor’s intellectual capacity, and the gravity of the offense.

According to evidence presented at Slaton’s trial, Curtis-Simmons’ phone data placed him in the front passenger seat of the Dodge Avenger driven by Slaton the day he shot and killed Betschart at the intersection of Jackson Road and Florin-Perkins Road.

The phone traveled along Southport Drive at 3:25 P.M, the same time Betschart dropped off a friend after a day of paintballing. It drove along Kiefer Boulevard to Jackson Road and stopped at the intersection with Florin-Perkins. The phone then traveled east along Folsom Boulevard and stopped moving at the family’s home on Salmon Falls Drive.

A video found on Curtis-Simmons phone following the execution of a search warrant shows a semi-automatic pistol on his lap at 3:21 on October 3rd of 2020. Another video filmed ten minutes later shows the Avenger chase down Betschart’s car, ending mere moments before he was shot and killed.

“N***a sucka is spooked, n—a, on Grego,” Curtis-Simmons said, name-dropping Guttah Gas Team affiliate Gregorie Green, who was shot and killed at a house party in 2017. “N***a, sucka’ is running, n***a, I’m behind him, dead homies.”

Although Slaton fired the rounds that killed Betschart, a .40 Caliber Glock pistol used at the murder was discovered under the back passenger seat of Curtis-Simmons’ gold Buick ten hours after the murder. Investigators found selfies of Curtis-Simmons from the same day wearing a yellow sweatshirt and posing with a gun in front of a mirror.

The month before the murder, according to Slaton attorney Michael Long, Curtis-Simmons was pulled over in the Buick. Police took information from him and three friends and let them go.

Slaton, 35, was admitted to North Kern State Prison on Thursday. Prison officials will now review his life history, including his psychological and social tendencies, to determine which facility he should be permanently housed in for the rest of his life. He will not be eligible for parole.

At trial, Slaton’s legal team said prosecutors lacked evidence to convict him, attempting to implicate Curtis-Simmons as the only member of the family present in the car that day. The jury didn’t buy their argument and voted to convict.

 

Ethan Biando
Ethan Biando is a freelance journalist from Sacramento. His writing focuses on crime, courts, and policing. Find him on Twitter @ethanb822

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