One of the two defendants in a fatal Terrace Heights home-invasion robbery case will spend 20 years in prison.
Daniel Keoni Molina, 21, was sentenced June 2 to slightly more than 10 years in prison for second-degree murder, and almost five years each on charges of attempted first-degree robbery and first-degree burglary in the death of Ronald Leroy Carl Born IV in May 2020.
Molina entered an Alford plea to the murder charge in April while pleading guilty to the other charges. An Alford plea allows Molina to maintain his innocence while acknowledging that prosecutors have enough evidence to have convince a jury to find him guilty.
In accordance with a plea deal from prosecutors, the sentence on the murder charge was below state sentencing guidelines while the other sentences were above the guidelines and will be served consecutively.
But the plea deal also requires Molina to testify against his co-defendant, Forrest Arthur Beggs, when Beggs goes to trial. If he does not testify, Molina could face more serious charges or even a longer prison sentence, according to court documents.
Beggs, 20, and Molina are accused of killing Born during a home invasion at Born’s North 39th Street home.
In plea statement, Molina said he and Beggs went to Born’s home armed with guns to steal marijuana and money from Born. Once inside the house, Born confronted the pair and fought with Molina, the statement said.
During the fight, Beggs shot Born in the torso, and Beggs and Molina fled, the statement said. Born’s mother was hit in the head and arm with the butt of a long gun, court documents said.
Yakima County sheriff’s deputies found $10,000 in cash and 2 pounds of marijuana in Born’s room, according to court documents.
Born, 30, was initially treated at Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital, but died at Harborview Medical Center May 17, 2020, due to blood loss and infection from the gunshot wound, according to the King County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Born identified Beggs as his shooter, while Molina was identified as a suspect after still shots from security camera footage at Born’s home were published in the Yakima Herald-Republic. Both men were arrested in June, according to court documents. Both men were initially charged with second-degree murder, first-degree robbery and second-degree assault.
Beggs is being held in the Yakima County jail in lieu of
$1 million bail.