FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – The man convicted of the homicide of 20-month-old Rashad Halford Jr was sentenced to 40 years in state prison on Friday morning, officials say.
According to officials, 35-year-old Devin Ratliff agreed to a plea deal during the trial, reducing a homicide charge down to a manslaughter charge. Initially, he was facing 114 years in prison for a combination of homicide, attempted homicide, and weapons charges.
His attorney, Ralph Torres, says the plea did benefit his client.
“Forensic evidence was going to be presented that showed that the father that one of the victims that the fragments from his gun were in the child. Which basically means that the father participated in the death of his own child,” Torres said.
At the time of the shooting in June 2016, police say the toddler was killed in his father’s arms and that Ratliff had snuck into their apartment after Ratliff and his father Rashad Halford Sr had an argument.
His father spoke with us then, expressing how he wanted justice.
“He didn’t even get a chance to live his life. He didn’t even get a chance to talk, say his first words you know?” Halford Sr told our news team at the time.
It was two years before Ratliff was arrested in Southern California.
Fresno mayor Jerry Dyer, who was police chief at the time, said in June 2023 during the trial, he is in agreement with the plea, despite it meaning Ratliff would spend less time in prison, than if he was convicted for homicide.
“Not knowing what’s going to resonate with that jury pool or not, sometimes it is best to enter into some type of a plea so that you can make certain that individual goes to prison and in this case spends four decades in prison,” Dyer said.
Torres said his attorney does have credit for time served while awaiting trial. He will be sent to Wasco State Prison in Kern County.