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Thursday, December 13 , 2018, 5:25 pm | Fair 62º


May Trial Date Set for Former Hancock College Athletes Charged With Murder

Two men charged in fatal shooting of 23-year-old Santa Maria man in 2014

Former Allan Hancock basketball player Ali Mohammed sits next to his defense attorney Lori Pedego in court during a June 2015 hearing. Mohammed and Lavell White, also a former player, have been charged with murder in connection to a fatal 2014 shooting. Click to view larger
Former Allan Hancock basketball player Ali Mohammed sits next to his defense attorney Lori Pedego in court during a June 2015 hearing. Mohammed and Lavell White, also a former player, have been charged with murder in connection to a fatal 2014 shooting.  (Janene Scully / Noozhawk file photo)

A spring trial date has been set for two former Allan Hancock College basketball players charged with murder in connection with a fatal Santa Maria shooting. 

Ali Abdul Mohammed, 21, and Lavell Calvin White, 24, appeared in Santa Barbara County Superior Court court on Monday morning before Judge James Voysey.

The two are charged in connection with death of Terence Richardson, 23, of Santa Maria in late December 2014 during a shooting near Bradley Road and Jones Street.

Investigators say the fatal shooting occurred during a drug buy in which the defendants instead tried to rob the dealer, who was the vehicle’s driver, while Richardson sat in the passenger seat. 

The driver raced Richardson to Marian Regional Medical Center, where he died from the gunshot wound.

Both men also are alleged to have committed multiple residential burglaries around the Santa Maria Valley. 

The attorneys agreed to start the trial in May, estimating it could last four weeks. 

Ali Mohammed
Ali Mohammed

"I think we can accommodate that,”  Voysey said, before setting the trial to start May 2.

Deputy District Attorney Stephanie Savrnoch is prosecuting the case.

Mohammed is represented by defense attorney Lori Pedego and White is represented by defense attorney Michael Scott.

They will return to court April 24 to confirm they are ready for the trial’s start. 

Last year, the District Attorney's Office modified the charges, adding a special circumstance that the crime was committed during an attempted robbery in December 2014.

While defense attorneys challenged the switch, the judge agreed, citing the transcript from the preliminary hearing that the fatal shooting occurred during a drug deal gone wrong. 

Lavell White
Lavell White

The case was delayed several months while defense attorneys filed writs of mandate challenging legal issues with the Second District Court of Appeal, which ruled against the requests.

If found guilty, the men face a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. 

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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