CORONA (CBSLA.com) — Eight years ago, a local 16-year-old was attacked with a crowbar and left in a coma.
His attacker went to prison but was only charged with attempted murder. Even after the teen died, the charge was not changed.
The man who put Christopher Sackett into that coma — Ezra Babb — is set to walk free.
In a story you will only see on CBS2 and KCAL9, Serene Branson spoke to Sackett’s grieving — and angry — grandmother.
Eva Walden still mourns Sackett’s loss and the life he never got to live.
“He never got to graduate high school. He never had the opportunity for college,” she told Branson.
The assault was caught on security cameras at Carter’s Liquor Store in Rialto on May 19, 2004.
The tape clearly shows Babb coming up from behind Sackett. Babb then crouches and hits Sackett in the head with a metal t-shaped bar before fleeing.
“He fractured his skull. It sent fragments through his brain,” Walden said.
Babb, then 22, turned himself in after learning there was a warrant for his arrest.
“They said if Christopher passed away within three years, they would retry Ezra Babb and it would be a slam dunk — that he’d be prosecuted for murder because he’d taken the plea bargain and admitted to attempted murder,” Walden recalled.
Even though Christopher died within two years, the attempted murder charge stuck.
Babb is set for release in December. He will have served only seven years of his 10-year sentence.
Sackett’s family wants to know why Babb was never held accountable for the crime of murder.
“We had been promised something by people we trusted to do the right thing. Everyone says ‘Let the law take care of it,’ but in actuality it hasn’t,” Walden said.
Even though the assault was caught on tape, Walden says the family was told there wasn’t enough evidence to move forward with a prosecution.
Branson reports the San Bernardino County DA’s office declined a request for an interview saying, “they couldn’t comment on the case because it’s pending investigation.”
Walden, who raised her grandson, said Babb bullied Christopher and his sisters from an early age. She says the attack occurred when Christopher started speaking up for himself.
“I know that God will eventually punish Ezra Babb as He sees fit,” says Walden, “but I don’t think this is enough for him to come to the realization; he doesn’t understand the full import of what he did and how he destroyed this family.”