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Canyon Country man sentenced to 14 years in extortion case

Previous crimes included shooting up a condo complex in SCV

Posted: February 27, 2013 5:41 p.m.
Updated: February 27, 2013 5:41 p.m.

A Canyon Country man who shot up the American Beauty condo complex with a machine gun eight years ago pleaded guilty to five criminal counts in a more recent series of offenses, including two counts of felony battery on a peace officer and three counts of extortion, a deputy district attorney said Wednesday.

Tavaion Major Sowell, 26, appeared in Antelope Valley Superior Court last week on several felony counts.

“He was immediately sentenced to 14 years in state prison,” Deputy District Attorney Jon Hatami told said Wednesday.

“This is the guy who used a machine gun to shoot up the American Beauty apartment complex in Canyon Country in March 2004,” he said.

Two adults and two juveniles — one being Sowell — were arrested in the 2004 incident.

No one was hit by any of the bullets that peppered several dwellings at that time, The Signal reported in 2004.

On Monday, Sowell pleaded guilty to a series of crimes related to an extortion case in Lancaster, he said.

Sowell was extorting money from a Lancaster lawyer until the lawyer finally contacted sheriff’s deputies in Lancaster, he said.

“He was extorting that attorney and it went on for a long time with thousands of dollars involved,” Hatami said.

“The (extortion) victim ended up finally contacting the sheriff,” he said.

Detectives with the Sheriff’s Department Major Crimes unit carried out a “sting operation” in which detectives met up with Sowell at a Western Union branch in Lancaster.

“When the defendant was apprehended he tried to escape,” Hatami said. “A deputy was pushed to the ground. There was a fight.”

That confrontation led to the charges of assaulting two peace officers, he said.

“We’re all happy with the sentence,” he said.

“The (extortion) victim is happy, both (assaulted) detectives are happy,” he said.
on Twitter @jamesarthurholt




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