Life sentence for 2005 Christmas shooting

February 13, 2009 1:42:13 PM PST
A San Mateo County Superior Court judge this morning ordered a 33-year-old man to spend the rest of his life in prison for shooting two of his neighbors on Christmas morning 2005.

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Danell Pratt, who is already serving an 18-year sentence for a 2007 rape conviction, was also handed two consecutive terms of 39 years to life by Judge John Grandsaert, bringing his total sentence for both crimes to 96 years to life in prison.

Grandsaert called Pratt "a danger to himself and others," and said the victims in both cases "are very lucky to be alive."

Pratt was found guilty Dec. 12, 2008, of shooting two teenage brothers while they were at home wrapping Christmas presents, several doors down from Pratt's own home.

For unknown reasons, Pratt burst through their front door and pointed a gun at the head of the younger brother, then 15, Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.

The older brother, who was 17, jumped in front of his little brother and was shot six times, three times in the chest, according to Wagstaffe. Pratt then shot the 15-year-old seven times in the legs and stomach.

Each boy was hospitalized for about a month, and positively identified Pratt as the shooter.

After Pratt's arrest in July 2006, he claimed his twin brother Lanell was the shooter, Wagstaffe said. But Deputy District Attorney Melissa McKowan said Lanell Pratt had "a very airtight alibi."

McKowan asked Grandsaert today to make Pratt's sentences for the shooting run consecutive to the rape sentence.

She said the rape was a violent felony, and caused "horrific emotional damage" to the victim. The shooting, she added, also "had a long-lasting impact on the victims."

Pratt did not make a statement in court this morning.

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