Court upholds commitment of at least 7 years for youth who killed father

A state appeals court in San Francisco today upheld a juvenile court judge's decision to order a detention commitment of at least seven years for a Berkeley youth who at age 15 shot and killed his father.

Davon Faison, now 17, was found guilty by Juvenile Court Judge Gail Bereola last year of the first-degree murder of his father, Charles Faison, 40, at the family's residence in Berkeley on June 19, 2008.

Charles Faison, who ran security and entertainment businesses and kept guns in the house, was killed with one gunshot to the head.

Davon Faison was judged as a juvenile and was not tried as an adult.

Bereola ordered the youth committed to the state Division of Juvenile Justice, formerly called the California Youth Authority, for at least seven years, with the possibility of parole after seven years.

Bereola said at the time that she was committing him for a maximum term of 50 years to life and that she assumed that he could be transferred to adult prison at the age of 25.

But Division of Juvenile Justice spokesman Bill Sessa said today that because the youth was judged as a juvenile, he must be released no later than age 25.

In his appeal, Faison argued there was insufficient evidence that he would benefit from the lengthy detention.

But a three-judge panel of the Court of Appeal upheld Bereola's conclusion that the commitment, in which Faison could receive treatment for his problems, was justified because of the seriousness of the crime and his previous record of delinquency.

“The circumstances and gravity of the offense – first-degree murder using a handgun to deliver a single shot to his father's head – were monumental,” Justice Timothy Reardon wrote.

The appeals court said Faison's previous record included drug and alcohol use, an anger problem known as intermittent explosive disorder, school disciplinary referrals, and allegations of car theft and attempted robbery.

The panel said he could receive treatment and vocational training and possibly earn a high school diploma during the commitment.

At the time of the commitment hearing, prosecutor Georgia Santos said she believed the youth loved his father, but that he rebelled against the strict discipline Charles Faison imposed on him and his half-brother and half-sister.

Faison's attorney in the appeal was not immediately available for comment.

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