The 19-year-old triggerman in the gang-related drive-by slaying of a young Thousand Oaks mother was sentenced Monday to 40 years to life in prison for crimes that included first-degree murder.
Scott Kastan, the well-groomed son of a wealthy Thousand Oaks family, said nothing upon receiving the sentence for shooting 20-year-old Jennifer Jordan in the head as he fired from a moving car at rival gang members on May 31. The slaying left behind Jordan's baby daughter, now 2, to be raised by her sister.
When Superior Court Judge Lawrence Storch pronounced sentence, Kastan hung his head. The sentence means that Kastan will serve a minimum of 20 years behind bars, even if he is released early with time off for good behavior.
During the sentencing hearing, Kastan showed little emotion as his victim's parents and sister pleaded tearfully for the stiffest sentence allowed by law: 46 years to life.
Doreen Jordan told Storch that the man who shot her daughter could kill again if released.
"No mother should have to walk down the aisle and stop by a coffin to say goodby to her daughter," she said, looking at Kastan, who dropped his gaze to the defense table. "Especially because of a senseless killing."
Jamie Gregor sobbed openly, holding a porcelain-framed photo of her sister, Jennifer Jordan.
"My baby sister is gone," she said. "I didn't get to say goodby or tell her I loved her. . . . My husband, Gene, and I are raising Allison now, and I'm scared. What am I going to say to her when she grows up? She'll know I'm not her mother."
"Scott Kastan is an unconscionable terrorist gang drive-by murderer," Charles Jordan, the victim's father, said, his voice breaking with emotion. "His mentality is (that of) the American terrorist, whose conscience allows him to kill for no reason at all, other than his boredom or his macho existence."
Charles Jordan said the killing has devastated his family, pushing his wife nearly to suicide and forcing his son, who now fears being hurt by gang members, to move to Hawaii.
"This person and the others involved deprived my daughter of 50, 60, 70 years of life," Jordan said. "Don't give this guy concurrent sentences. This man is a premeditated murderer."
On May 31, Kastan brought along a handgun as he and co-defendant Patrick H. Strickland, 23, a fellow member of the Small Town Hoods gang, drove around with two women in a BMW for several hours and drank, according to testimony during their trial.
Kastan and Strickland then cruised past a Houston Drive house where there was rumored to be a party attended by members of the rival Houston Hoods gang.
Witnesses testified that someone matching Kastan's description popped up through the sunroof and fired shots that fatally wounded Jennifer Jordan as she walked outside. Strickland and Kastan accused each other of firing the gun.
On Feb. 7, a Superior Court jury ruled that Strickland was merely an accessory to the slaying, and that Kastan pulled the trigger, despite Kastan's testimony denying it. The jury found Kastan guilty of first-degree murder for Jordan's slaying, and two counts of attempted second-degree murder for shooting at the rival gang members. The jury also found Kastan guilty of special circumstances in these crimes for using a firearm.
Strickland is serving an eight-year prison sentence for being an accessory to Jordan's murder and for three unrelated crimes.
On Monday, Storch sentenced Kastan to 29 years to life in prison for the murder charge and weapon-use circumstance. He also sentenced him to two concurrent 11-year sentences for two counts of second-degree attempted murder and weapon-use circumstances.
Storch said, "I recognize the incredible tragedy . . . of a woman struck down just as she was about to start a life, and the incredible tragedy of the Kastan family--a son who will be spending the rest of his life in prison."
Kastan's parents, who attended much of the trial, were not present at sentencing "because they just couldn't stand the pain," said Karen McHenry, who said she was a close friend sent by the Kastan family.
"The family believes very, very adamantly in Scott's innocence, and will be trying to come forward with something to prove this," she said.
James Edward Blatt, Kastan's attorney, said he believed that his client got a fair trial. But Blatt said he believes that the two women in the car, who initially told police that Strickland fired the gun, "suddenly got amnesia" when asked to testify about it at trial.
Deputy Dist. Atty. Donald C. Glynn, who had asked Storch to give Kastan the maximum 46-year sentence for all charges, said, "I think the judge sentenced him pretty well."