Los Angeles, CA – A California gang member facing a murder charge was heard on jailhouse phone recordings saying he needs to cut a quick plea deal with Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon’s office in case the effort to recall him is successful.
Gang member Willie Wilkerson has been charged with murder in the fatal shooting of 21-year-old Elijah Martin, FOX News reported.
Martin was gunned down during a home invasion robbery in Lancaster in February of 2021.
Wilkerson has also been charged with two counts of attempted murder for wounding two more victims in the same attack, FOX News reported.
During a jailhouse phone call to his mother on May 31, the gang member was heard telling her about his defense lawyer’s plan to score him a lenient plea deal.
The call was made immediately after Wilkerson’s court hearing.
“I told you last time that [Wilkerson’s defense attorney] wanna hurry up and try to get something did before they re-elect somebody else besides Gascon and bring back that bulls–t life without parole and death penalty,” Wilkerson said during to the call.
“If he could get manslaughter, then sh–!” the murder suspect continued. “Manslaughter only carries six, nine, and 12 [years].”
Under California law, Wilkerson could have faced multiple sentencing enhancements that could have dramatically increased his prison time, to include using a firearm in the commission of the offense, being a member of a gang, and a special circumstance enhancement for murdering someone during the commission of an armed robbery.
But when Gascon took office in December of 2020, he immediately ordered his prosecutors to stop utilizing enhancements in an overwhelming majority of cases, regardless of the heinousness of the offense, FOX News reported.
He also barred prosecutors from pushing for life sentences without the possibility of parole in nearly all cases, further benefiting accused killers like Wilkerson.
“If you’re a violent criminal in Los Angeles right now, your biggest ally is not your defense lawyers, it’s not the judge, it’s not the jury,” Los Angeles County Association of Deputy District Attorneys Eric Siddall told FOX News.
“It’s George Gascon. That’s who your biggest supporter is,” he said. “That’s the reason why criminal defendants all throughout Los Angeles County want George Gascon to give them a deal. Because they know that he is their biggest cheerleader.”
EXCLUSIVE: In jailhouse audio we’ve obtained, Willie Wilkerson, a gang member charged w/ murder, says his attorney wants to hurry up and make a deal before LA DA @GeorgeGascon possibly gets recalled and “they bring back that bullshit life without parole & death penalty." @FoxNews pic.twitter.com/pkmj6sCVTm
— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) June 8, 2022
Crime in Los Angeles County has surged under Gascon’s progressive soft-on-crime policies, leading to him currently facing his second recall attempt, FOX News reported.
The Recall George Gascon campaign said that as of June 6, it had collected 500,000 signatures from registered voters for the recall effort.
The group needs to collect just 67,000 more signatures by July 6 in order for the recall to be eligible for inclusion on the General Election ballot in November, FOX News reported.
The potential recall gained even more momentum on Tuesday, after San Francisco voters voted overwhelmingly to recall progressive San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin.
The recall measure – known officially as Proposition H – garnered the support of more than 60 percent of San Francisco’s voters during the June 7 primary, CBS News reported.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said he believes Gascon is next.
Sheriff Villanueva was awaiting early returns in his own race to retain his seat on Tuesday evening when he received word that Boudin had been recalled, the New York Post reported.
“The DA of San Francisco just conceded he has been recalled,” the sheriff announced as his crowd of supporters cheered. “George Gascon, you’re next.”
“The people of Los Angeles have had enough,” Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Jon Hatami told FOX News. “George Gascon is not only a narcissist, he refuses to collaborate with anybody, especially with people who disagree with him.”
“I think that people need to realize that the way the situation is going, the best thing for everybody here in Los Angeles is to recall George Gascon and get him out of office,” he continued. “Even if you want some of the reforms that he wants to implement, I still believe that it’s better to get him out.”