A Manteca man was sentenced to six years in prison for his role in the beating death of a 21-year-old man during a robbery at Donnelly Park.
Terry Van Meter, 18, of Manteca was sentenced to six years in prison after being found guilty of voluntary manslaughter, robbery and attempted robbery. Van Meter was one of four defendants accused in a series of robberies at the Turlock park that led to the death of Cameron Tracy of Patterson.
Tracy was at Donnelly Park with his girlfriend on Dec. 4, 2017 when four masked assailants jumped out of a white vehicle and surrounded the pair, demanding they hand over their property. Tracy shielded his girlfriend and she was able to run for help. The attackers used a metal baseball bat to beat Tracy. He was in a coma for nine days before he was declared brain dead and taken off life support on Dec. 13, 2017.
Turlock Police Investigators were able to identify the suspect vehicle, a white 2004 Kia Sedona with Nevada license plates, after reviewing surveillance video from an area business. Using this information, detectives working in conjunction with the Manteca Police Department were able to locate the suspect vehicle in the City of Manteca.
With the assistance of the California Highway Patrol and the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department, detectives were able to stop the suspect vehicle and its occupants in Stockton. All four subjects were taken into custody without incident and booked into the Stanislaus County Jail and Stanislaus County Juvenile Hall.
In addition to Van Meter, who was 16 years old at the time, investigators arrested Shaun Santos, 24, Lavina Perez, 41, and a 15-year-old boy, all of Modesto. Santos and Perez are both facing multiple charges, including murder and robbery.
Van Meter had been charged with murder but since that time SB 1437 changed the felony murder law in the state and no longer allows prosecutors to charge an accomplice with murder if they didn’t participate in the actual murder or show any intent to commit murder.
Van Meter was sentenced on Jan. 9 in Stanislaus County Superior Court. He got credit for 766 days for time already served.