Two women from Moreno Valley, California, have been given life imprisonment without parole for the murder of 84-year-old Afaf Assad at Pechanga Resort Casino in 2019.
Victim’s Family Seeks Justice as Women Receive Life Sentence for Elderly Murder
Kimesha Monae Williams, aged 39, and Candace Tai Townsel, aged 42, were convicted in February this year of murder, robbery, and elder abuse. The murder was aggravated by the crimes of theft and mistreatment of the old woman, resulting in a life sentence for both women. The sentences for robbery and elder abuse were stayed as part of the single act that led to the murder of Assad.
The Mercury News reported that during the sentencing at Southwest Justice Center in French Valley on April 21, 2023, Mary Assad, the victim’s daughter, delivered an impact statement, saying that this had been a painful journey through the court justice system. She said that she could not believe her mother was the victim of such a violent crime. The family was seeking a reckoning for the heinous act committed by the two women, but not vengeance.
Kimesha Monae Williams, in a statement read to the court by her attorney, expressed her condolences and stated that she had not killed anyone. She added that the court found her guilty of the charges, but the truth was known to God. Townsel did not make any statement.
The statement made by Williams did not move Superior Court Judge Timothy F. Freer. The judge said that the idea that neither Williams nor Townsel were responsible for the death of a human being was laughable.
Calls for Greater Security Measures After Elderly Murder at Pechanga Resort Casino
Judge Freer further mentioned that the victim, who had lived a long life, did not deserve to be violently murdered in a casino. He added that she was left on a bathroom floor with her head exploding. Several family members and friends of the victim wiped tears and sobbed as Freer pronounced the life sentence without parole.
The Riverside County District Attorney, Mike Hestrin, did not seek the death penalty. This case has attracted significant attention in California, and the sentences are expected to send a strong message to criminals who target the elderly.
The incident at the Pechanga Resort Casino has raised concerns regarding the safety of senior citizens who visit such places. There have been calls for greater security measures and more robust screening processes for visitors to prevent future occurrences.