Sacramento Cardroom Killer Sentenced to Life in Prison

Date: January 15, 2024, 07:31h. 

Last updated on: January 15, 2024, 07:31h.

The man convicted in the 2022 robbery and fatal shooting of a heroic security guard at Capitol Casino will spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Capitol Casino
Capitol Casino, pictured above. A man was convicted for killing a security guard at the California cardroom. (Image: Capitol Casino)

Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Michael Bowman handed down the sentence for Dawan Pecot, 38, on Friday. He has no chance for parole.

In November, Pecot was convicted by a jury after a criminal trial on first-degree murder and second-degree robbery charges for the August 22, 2022 killing.

Initially, Pecot attempted to rob the poker room. The security guard, Sean Bernal, 27, apprehended Pecot inside the cardroom. Bernal pulled out a taser and ordered Pecot to walk out of the building.

But once outside, Pecot displayed a gun. He walked back into the casino and went up to the cashier’s cage. He aimed the gun at a casino employee and demanded money.

But Bernal got back inside the building and approached Pecot. He pulled out his taser again and tried to zap Pecot.

Pecot shot Bernal one in the neck. The single shot killed Bernal.

A casino employee handed Pecot over $38K and the bandit ran out of the casino. A cardroom worker followed him to a nearby vehicle.

When California police officers arrived at the casino, Pecot had exited his car and fired a shot toward the casino employee. It missed the worker. Pecot tried to run away but officers stopped him and he was arrested.

He initially claimed he was short of breath, so officers took him to a local hospital, according to CBS News. After being seen by a doctor he was booked at Sacramento County Main Jail.

Bernal Was Hero

Following the shooting, Bernal’s mother, Susan Bernal, told Sacramento TV station KTXL her son loved his job and explained he went after the robber to protect the public.

“Sean was out of the casino, from what I understand, and he went back in to try to save the car dealers, the workers, the coworkers, anybody he could, to get them out,” Susan Bernal said in an interview.

He wouldn’t have been able to live with himself and come home that night or that day if he’d known that he didn’t do anything and somebody else got killed. So, for that, I’m kind of pissed off. But I understand why you did it, but I’m kind of mad that he did it.”

Bernal also is survived by a daughter who was one year old when he was murdered.

Prior Shootings

The Capitol Casino has seen other shootings in recent years. For instance, in 2016 a casino employee, Nicholas Broadway, was fatally shot outside the cardroom.

He got caught in an exchange of gunfire between an off-duty Sacramento police officer and Luis Alfonso Castillo. Castillo was arrested and later sentenced to 40 years in prison for second-degree murder.

Also, in 2021, Renee Walker was shot outside the cardroom. Three days later, she passed away.

Arviel Robertson, 36, was charged with Walker’s death. The homicide case is pending in a California court.

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