MODESTO -- A judge on Wednesday postponed a sentencing hearing until Nov. 20 for a 20-year-old man convicted of murder in the shooting of a 44-year-old ice cream vendor during an attempted robbery last year in west Modesto.
DeWalter Mitchell of Modesto faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole for shooting to death Martin Ham. Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge Linda McFadden, who presided over Mitchell's trial, was not able to be in court Wednesday, so Judge John Whiteside postponed the sentencing.
Mitchell's accomplice, 16-year-old Lavell Whitfield, testified against Mitchell in the trial. In exchange for his testimony, Whitfield received a plea deal that resulted in a 13-year, eight-month prison sentence after he pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter for his role in the shooting.