Prominent tax-payer funded California prison reform activist gets 15 to life for murder

What kind of people is the government of California funding?

Victim Jamad Jerkins

Deangelo Cortijo was a board member for the Correction’s Executive Steering Committee for the California Gang Reduction, Intervention, and Prevention grant [CalGRIP]. This is a tax-payer-funded program in which the state of California gives cities up to a half-million in matching funds to fight gangs.

Cortijo was a celebrated social justice activist in the Bay Area who specifically spoke about juvenile prison reform. Cortijo previously served time in a juvenile prison himself. Activist groups and media portrayed him not as a severe juvenile offender but as a victim of the judicial system itself. The San Francisco’s East Bay Express, among others, held him up as an expert on how the justice system victimizes juveniles.

In October of 2016, he shot and killed his sister’s ex-boyfriend Jamad Jerkins. The shooting took place in front of his sister’s apartment. Jerkins was picking up some possessions.

After fatally shooting Jerkins, Cortijo committed an armed carjacking to flee the scene. When he was arrested, he told police it was an accident. He pleaded not guilty.

He was convicted of murder, but a California appellate court overturned the first conviction.

After a second trial, he was convicted of second-degree murder in late May. Now he has been formally sentenced to fifteen years to life in prison.

After Cortijo did terribly during cross-examination, he claimed that guards at the Santa Rita Jail had assaulted him. He then attempted to boycott the rest of his trial in “protest.” This tactic failed to prevent his conviction. His claim appears to have been wholly false and throws suspicion on all his previous claims about the justice system he made as a taxpayer-funded activist.