By Jessica Cejnar, The Times-Standard

Three days before he died, Terrell Sherrills encouraged his sister Oya to attend Humboldt State University.

The 18-year-old from Watts had just finished his first semester at HSU and was home for the holidays. One night in January 2004, Terrell Sherrills attended a party and was shot. According to Oya Sherrills, who now lives in the Bay Area, the person who shot her brother was a 16-year-old gang member who has never been arrested.

”I was extremely distraught and depressed,” she said, adding that she was 15 years old at the time. “We were close. It took me a long time, years, to really work through my pain around it. But at the same time, I would always hesitate — and I know that he would want me to hesitate — in using the tragedy of his death to justify the injustice of exorbitant prison sentences for youth.”

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