2005-07-22 / Front Page

Local man, 75, sentenced to life in prison

Robert Sorrells, 75, was recently sentenced to 32 years to life in the California Department of Corrections for the July 24, 2004 murder of Arthur DeLong and attempted murder of Edward Sanchez. Sorrells had pleaded guilty to one count of premeditated murder and one count of premeditated attempted murder.

The crimes occurred when Sorrells walked into the Regency Lounge in the 1600 block of Los Angeles Avenue in Simi Valley and shot DeLong in the back at point-blank range. He then shot Sanchez, who was sitting on a barstool, in the back. Sorrells also fired a second shot at each man as they lay on the floor.

About an hour before the shooting, Sorrells, a retired actor, had been requested to leave the bar because of his belligerence to another patron. DeLong escorted Sorrells from the bar to avoid a confrontation between Sorrells and the patron. DeLong did not know either man. DeLong had to physically restrain Sorrells from attacking the other patron as they left.

Sorrells then went to his home and retrieved his gun. He returned to the bar and shot DeLong and Sanchez. Sanchez had arrived at the bar about 10 minutes earlier and had no prior contact with Sorrells before the shooting.

Sorrells initially entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity but withdrew that plea on May 16 before entering his guilty plea.

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