On November 9th, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments challenging the constitutionality of juvenile life without parole (JLWOP) sentences. In preparation for oral arguments, JLWOP: Faces & Cases will be an on-going series on The Foundry that will tell real stories about juvenile offenders who are currently serving LWOP sentences.
Chawa See shot a 15-year-old boy in the head with a .380 caliber semiautomatic handgun, killing him almost instantly.
Chawa See was a member of the Oriental Troop gang, an Asian street gang active in the north central area of Visalia, California. Robert Trevino, a 15-year-old former member of the Norteno gang, lived on NE Fourth Street in Visalia, part of the area the Oriental Troop gang considered its “turf.”
On October 1, 2006, Trevino was outside his house playing football with younger boys—neighbors, not gang members. See and four of his fellow gang members decided to confront Trevino. After covering their faces with bandanas, they walked over to NE Fourth Street and approached Trevino. Several bystanders advised Trevino to go inside to avoid the confrontation, but he told them that he was doing nothing wrong and had nothing to fear.
See and his “posse” came nearer, and one of them shook hands with Trevino. While Trevino was distracted with the handshake, See pulled out a .380 caliber semiautomatic handgun and, from a distance of less than three feet, fired the weapon at Trevino’s head, killing him almost instantly.
See fled the scene and went into hiding. He admitted the murder to a female friend, and the handgun was found in his bedroom.
Charles D. Stimson is Senior Legal Fellow and Andrew M. Grossman is Senior Legal Policy Analyst in the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation.