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Mother Of Murdered Grant Union High School Teenager JJ Clavo Speaks Out


Grant High School football player JJ Clavo was murdered in 2015.


After a trial, a Sacramento judge has ruled that Keymontae Lindsey killed Grant Union High School football player JJ Clavo four years ago.

Lindsey was 15 at the time and has been incarcerated since. He will remain in custody until 2025, at the latest. If he had been a few months older at the time of the shooting, he would face a much different fate.

A new state law, SB 1391, signed last year by Gov. Jerry Brown, says someone convicted of crime who's younger than 16 cannot be tried as an adult or incarcerated after the age of 25.

Clavo in a car with Grant Union High football teammates in November 2015 when he was murdered. Sacramento Police arrested Lindsey the next day on weapons charges after a vehicle stop. According to the Sacramento District Attorney’s Office, the gun on the floor in front of him was identified by a crime lab as the murder weapon.

Clavo's mother, Dr. Nicole Clavo, says six years more years for Lindsey, who is now 19, is not enough.

“He won't serve as much time as I believe he should,” she said. “Had he been a few months older, he would be looking at a life sentence versus a pat on the hand and just a couple of years.” 

She went on to say all parts of society failed the boy who shot her son: community, teachers and parents alike. 

“No one provided him the assistance he needed or the attention or the love or the compassion or any of those things that would have stopped him from making a horrible, horrible decision that changed all of our lives,” she said.

Clavo says, given her knowledge of Lindsey’s formative years, she doesn’t hold out much hope that he will be a productive member of society upon his release.

“I don't think our juvenile system is set up to rehabilitate our youth in that short period of time,” she said.

Dr. Clavo has since founded a non-profit dedicated to grief counseling and support for people who have undergone a traumatic experience.

'We continue to work with families and not just families of murdered loved ones, homelessness, joblessness, divorce, death, anything that can be considered as grief,” she said.

She and her daughter Japhera will continue their work and will also seek laws that protect victims.

Efforts to reach the Lindsey family have been unsuccessful. He is due back in court August 19 to be sentenced.

Bob Moffitt

Sacramento Region Reporter

Bob reports on all things northern California and Nevada. His coverage of police technology, local athletes, and the environment has won a regional Associated Press and several Edward R. Murrow awards.   Read Full Bio 

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