19 days in Sacramento, five murders, seven arrests

Authorities believe they’ve apprehended those responsible

Authorities arrested seven homicide suspects in 19 days in Sacramento County, including a man thought responsible for leaving a bullet-riddled corpse in a field.

On December 17, 2015, detectives arrested Scot Douglas Sequeira, 28, of Sacramento in the Stanislaus County city of Newman, according to a release from the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department. Authorities believe Sequeira knew Matthew Caquelin, the late 26-year-old whose body was discovered by a work crew in a field not far from Sacramento International Airport. They also now think the fatal shooting occurred at that rural spot, but don’t know what led up to it.

Sequeira was arraigned and appointed a public defender on December 28, 2015, online Sacramento Superior Court records show. He has an otherwise clean local record.

The same goes for 19-year-old Marcus Gammage, arrested Saturday for the New Year’s morning homicide of 23-year-old Darien McLaurin, who was shot shortly before 2 a.m., following a dispute outside a small house party in Rancho Cordova, a sheriff’s release states. Gammage, whom detectives apprehended in Tracy, was scheduled to be arraigned on Tuesday.

Authorities believe a physical altercation caused the death of 32-year-old Brice D. Stewart, found on the floor of his apartment the morning of December 31, 2015, following an anonymous 911 tip. Authorities believe Stewart was the victim of an assault earlier in the day at the hands of James Lee Hill, 34, who was apprehended that evening during a traffic stop in Vallejo.

A 16-year-old male being held at juvenile hall on weapons and drug charges was charged with the December 12, 2015, homicide of 26-year-old Jonathan McKenzie, who was found in his Carmichael apartment with a fatal gunshot wound. And Sacramento city police arrested three men last month for the stabbing murder of a neighbor, 55-year-old Carlos Rios.

In an email, sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Tony Turnbull said he wasn’t “privy to the investigative techniques the detectives used to solve their cases.” But in a previous interview, he described homicide investigations as a complex process that relies on forensic evidence like ballistics, phone records and DNA. He also told SN&R that determining motive was crucial to both identifying a suspect and building a successful prosecution.

“Motive gives you the narrative for why someone got killed,” he said. “That’s what jurors are going to want to hear.”

In 2014, 80 homicides were recorded in Sacramento County with 58 cleared through arrest, according to the California Department of Justice. That equals a 72.5 percent success rate, though that figure doesn’t account for arrests in cold cases that occurred in prior years. The 87 homicides recorded last year are the most since 2008.