Press release from the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office:

Today, June 17, 2022, Judge Lawrence Killoran sentenced Gearold Sotolongo (aka Roldo Pratt) to 16 years to life in prison, the maximum allowable sentence, for the murder of Roger Yale. The sentence includes 15 years to life for second-degree murder and an additional year for using a deadly weapon to commit the murder. Under current California law, because he was convicted of murder, Mr. Sotolongo will serve every day of his sentence. 

The case arose from an incident in 2016 when Sotolongo and four of his friends approached Mr. Yale and engaged in an argument. Mr. Yale walked away from the confrontation and, in the belief that it was over, sat down on a curb. Sotolongo then walked up to Mr. Yale and stabbed him once in the heart.    

A Humboldt County jury convicted Sotolongo on June 2, 2022. The issue of the defendant’s competency to stand trial and multiple changes in defense attorneys delayed the case. 

Prior to sentencing, family and community members expressed to Judge Killoran the profound sense of loss they feel without Roger Yale.

The District Attorney appreciates the willingness of witnesses to testify and the time and attention of those who served as jurors.   Our justice system relies on people to both provide evidence and provide accused persons with their right to a trial by jury.

Deputy district attorneys Roger Rees and Jessica Watson prosecuted the case, with assistance from District Attorney Investigator Marvin Kirkpatrick and Victim Advocate Holly Hensher. Private attorney Zack Curtis represented Mr. Sotolongo.