Jury finds pair guilty of murdering 19-year-old in Citrus Heights

RV Watson, Dashawn Tinsley
Dashawn Tinsley, left, and RV Watson, right, were found guilty of the 2015 murder of 19-year-old Andrew VanHunnik in Citrus Heights. // Image credit: CHPD

Sentinel staff report–
Two men are now each facing over 100 years in prison after being found guilty of shooting a 19-year-old man to death in Citrus Heights in 2015, the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday morning.

Dashawn Kwama Tinsley, 24, and RV Allahali Watson, 28, were both convicted by a jury on Tuesday for the first-degree murder of Andrew VanHunnik, who was found shot to death in a car on Dec. 28, 2015, at the Creekside Colony apartments on Kingswood Drive, near Sunrise Boulevard. The pair were also found guilty of three counts of premeditated attempted murder and jurors additionally found the two “fired firearms causing great bodily injury or death to three separate victims,” the DA’s office said in a news release.

Prior story: Citrus Heights police announce arrests in two shootings from 2015

Two others were in the car with VanHunnik, one of whom escaped after being shot five times. Despite the car being found “riddled with bullets,” authorities said the other occupant escaped without being shot.

The jury also found that Tinsley and Watson were the shooters in an attempted murder four days prior to VanHunnik’s shooting. In that incident, a 26-year-old man was shot on Christmas Eve as he exited his car outside his mother’s house on Donegal Drive in Citrus Heights. The DA’s office said he was shot three times, leaving him with a broken arm.

The pair were arrested in 2016, following a lengthy investigation where Citrus Heights Police Department detectives were able to locate witnesses and evidence that established Tinsley and Watson as the shooters in both incidents, the news release stated. Police previously said the investigation spanned an eight month period involving several hundred hours of interviews and more than 50 search warrants.

Although not included in Wednesday’s news release, a third man, 22-year-old Dennis Gibson, was also arrested in connection with the Christmas Eve shooting. According to court records, he was sentenced to eight months in prison on June 1, after pleading no-contest to a felony charge that he played an accessory role after the shooting.

Watson faces a maximum sentence of 192 years to life in prison and Tinsley faces up to 141 years to life in prison. A June 29 hearing will determine sentencing for the pair.

The case was prosecuted by Sacramento County Deputy District Attorney Satnam Rattu, with the Gangs and Hate Crimes Unit. DA Spokeswoman Shelly Orio said although the jury heard evidence that the offenses were gang related, no gang allegations were filed in the case.