Judge Pamela Butler sentenced a Seaside man to life without parole in the murder of Dwayne Choates Jr., nephew of former City Councilman Darryl Choates, a longtime prominent figure in Seaside politics.

Donald Ray Parker, 23, was convicted in April in the 2010 slaying.

Prosecutors said that on Nov. 10, 2010, Parker, wearing a hooded jacket, waited outside an apartment complex for Choates, then stepped out from hiding and fired.

"Shortly after the victim exited the apartment, the defendant emerged from the dark and fired seven total shots," Deputy District Attorney Steve Somers said after the sentencing Tuesday. "The defendant continued to shoot Mr. Choates even after he had fallen to the ground."

Choates was 26 years old when he was killed.

Testimony at trial indicated the attack stemmed from jealousy over a woman who had been involved with Choates and Parker.

A witness said Parker saw Choates drop off the woman at the Del Monte Manor apartments in Seaside shortly before the shooting.

The witness said that later that evening, he went to a Monterey pool hall with Parker and asked why he shot Choates.

According to the witness, Parker replied, "I did what I had to do."

Because he was found guilty of lying in wait — considered a "special circumstance" — Parker's conviction in April meant an automatic sentence of life without the possibility of parole.

Other enhancements and charges brought Parker's total sentence to life without parole, plus 30 years to life.


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Julia Reynolds can be reached at 648-1187 or jreynolds@montereyherald.com.