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Death Penalty Sought for Leroy Anthony Johnson in 2009 CA Murders of Gary De Bartolo and Sandra De Bartolo
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Thread: Death Penalty Sought for Leroy Anthony Johnson in 2009 CA Murders of Gary De Bartolo and Sandra De Bartolo

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    Administrator Heidi's Avatar
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    Death Penalty Sought for Leroy Anthony Johnson in 2009 CA Murders of Gary De Bartolo and Sandra De Bartolo


    Sandra and Gary De Bartolo


    Top row, from left, Leroy Anthony Johnson, 42,
    Dawn Marie Singh, 34, and Jose Alfredo Reyes, 19;
    bottom row, from left, Chris Butler, 33,
    Andrew Jones, 18, and Neko Anthony Wilson, 27.



    August 5, 2010

    January trial set in Kerman slayings

    Lawyer for only one of accused facing death wants more time

    A January trial date has been set for six people charged with the murder of a Kerman couple, but the attorney for Leroy Anthony Johnson, 43 -- the only defendant facing the death penalty if convicted -- says he needs more time to prepare.

    The five other defendants -- Chris Bernard Butler, 34; Andrew Dawayne Jones, 19; Jose Alfredo Reyes, 20; Dawn Marie Singh, 35; and Neko Anthony Wilson, 28 -- face life in prison without parole if convicted.

    The six are each charged with two counts of murder in the stabbing deaths of Gary, 61, and Sandra De Bartolo, 62, inside their Kerman home at 15325 W. El Mar Lane on July 22, 2009.

    According to sheriff's reports, Singh, Butler, Jones and Wilson waited outside the house while Johnson and Reyes went inside. Investigators have said Johnson was the killer.

    On Thursday, Fresno County Superior Court Judge Denise Whitehead set the trial for Jan. 10. Whitehead said attorneys representing each defendant can file motions before the trial even though a trial judge has not yet been appointed.

    Attorney David Mugridge, who is representing Johnson, said he will file a motion to set a later trial date. "There's absolutely no way I'll be ready to go" by January, he said.

    Sheriff's reports say the defendants went to the De Bartolo home because it was filled with marijuana plants and growing equipment. Officers had the home under surveillance on the morning of the slayings because they had received a tip about a pending robbery.

    Butler told investigators that Johnson said he killed the couple because "they didn't give him what he asked for."

    http://www.fresnobee.com/2010/08/05/2031951/january-trial-set-in-kerman-slayings.html#ixzz0vp9vuOY0

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    Defendant in Kerman killing takes plea, will testify

    A Fresno man has accepted a plea agreement to testify against the five others defendants charged with murdering a Kerman couple over their marijuana plants last year, his defense attorney said today.

    Chris Bernard Butler, 34, faced life in prison without parole if he had been convicted in Fresno County Superior Court of killing Gary De Bartolo, 61, and Sandra De Bartolo, 62, inside their Kerman home on July 22, 2009.

    In a hearing on Oct. 29, Butler pleaded guilty to two felony counts of voluntary manslaughter and one felony count of robbery, the plea agreement with prosecutors shows.

    In exchange for his testimony, he faces as much 25 years in prison, said attorney Roger Nuttall, who represents Butler.

    "He was the least involved in this crime," Nuttall said today. "He had no idea someone would be killed."

    Butler will testify against the Leroy Anthony Johnson, 43; Andrew Dawayne Jones, 19; Jose Alfredo Reyes, 20; Dawn Marie Singh, 36; and Neko Anthony Wilson, 28. Their trial is scheduled for Jan. 10.

    Johnson faces the death penalty if convicted. The remaining defendants faces life in prison without parole.

    Sheriff's reports say the defendants went to the De Bartolo home at 15325 W. El Mar Lane because it was filled with marijuana plants and growing equipment.

    Initially, the defendants were going to steal the marijuana from the home the day before, but Butler pulled out of the plan, Nuttall said. Butler went along with the robbery plan only after he was assured the couple would not be home, Nuttall said.

    According to sheriff's reports, deputies and police officers had the De Bartolo home under surveillance on the morning of the slayings because they had received a tip about a pending robbery there by Asian gang members. Instead the defendants showed up.

    While Singh, Butler, Jones and Wilson waited in the getaway car outside the De Bartolo home, Johnson and Reyes went inside, the sheriff's reports said.

    Inside the home, Johnson killed the couple by cutting their throats, the reports said.

    Afterward, Butler told investigators that a bloody Johnson left the house through the front door and headed to the getaway car. "I think they're dead," Johnson said, according to Butler's statements to sheriff's investigators.

    Butler said he saw Johnson with a knife and heard him say he killed the couple because "they didn't give him what he asked for," the sheriff's reports said.

    http://www.fresnobee.com/2010/11/18/...#ixzz15fVEl4Vp

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    Trial delayed in slaying of Kerman couple

    A trial for five people charged with the murder of a Kerman couple will take place in September, a judge ruled this afternoon in Fresno County Superior Court.

    Initially the trial was scheduled to take place Jan. 10 for Leroy Anthony Johnson, Andrew Dawayne Jones, Jose Alfredo Reyes, Dawn Marie Singh and Neko Anthony Wilson.

    This afternoon, attorney David Mugridge, who represents Johnson, asked Judge Jeff Bird to delay the trial to Sept. 6 to give him and co-counsel, Henry Drandell, more time to prepare a defense.

    Bird granted the delay because Johnson faces the death penalty if convicted of murder in the stabbing deaths of Gary, 61, and Sandra De Bartolo, 62, inside their Kerman home on July 22, 2009. The other four defendants face life in prison if convicted.

    According to sheriff's reports, Singh, Jones, Wilson and Chris Bernard Butler, waited outside the house while Johnson and Reyes went inside to rob the couple of marijuana and money. Investigators say Johnson killed the couple by slashing their throats inside their home.

    Butler has accepted a plea agreement to testify against the other defendants.

    http://www.fresnobee.com/2010/12/09/...#ixzz17f3NYHMX

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    Kerman double-homicide case back in court

    Defense lawyers can't see the personnel files of the police officers and sheriff's detectives who investigated the killing of a Kerman couple two years ago, but they will learn who tipped off authorities about the couple's marijuana-growing operation.

    Fresno County Superior Court Judge John Vogt made those rulings Monday during a hearing on motions in the case, which is scheduled for trial next year.

    Defense attorneys argued that police officers and sheriff's detectives fabricated their investigative reports.

    Vogt ruled they hadn't.

    Vogt also said defense attorneys didn't present any evidence of dishonesty or illegal police tactics to warrant a look at the personnel records of the officers and detectives.

    Four people are charged with murdering Sandra and Gary De Bartolo inside their home near Kerman High School on July 22, 2009: Leroy Anthony Johnson, 44; Jose Alfredo Reyes, 21; Dawn Marie Singh, 36; and Neko Anthony Wilson, 29.

    Sheriff's officials say the defendants went to the De Bartolo home to rob them of marijuana and cash. The De Bartolo's throats were slashed.

    Johnson faces the death penalty if convicted. The other defendants face life in prison. Two more people – Chris Butler, 35, and Andrew Jones, 20 – have accepted plea agreements to testify for the prosecution.

    The trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 17. But Johnson's attorneys said Monday that they might request a continuance.

    Johnson also is charged with assaulting and robbing a man inside a central Fresno motel on July 16, 2009 – a week before the De Bartolos were killed.

    Johnson's attorneys, David Mugridge and Harry Drandell, asked Vogt to sever those charges from the murder case, arguing that the motel charges would prejudice the jury. Vogt said he will rule on that issue today.

    Defense attorneys won an argument Monday when the judge ruled that prosecutor Jeff Dupras must tell them the name of the person whose tip led authorities to put the De Bartolo's home under surveillance before the killing and robbery took place.

    In addition, Vogt ruled that Wilson's lawyers can question Fresno attorney Richard Beshwate Jr. about his representation of Wilson – from the time of Wilson's arrest in August 2009 to when Beshwate was relieved of his duties on March 8, 2010.

    The judge made the decision after meeting with Wilson and his legal team behind closed doors for nearly an hour. Afterward, the judge said he would schedule a hearing so Beshwate can explain his representation.

    http://www.fresnobee.com/2011/07/18/...#ixzz1SXjQcR8B

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    Trial in slaying of Kerman couple delayed until 2013

    The murder trial for a man facing the death penalty and three co-defendants charged with the 2009 killing of a Kerman couple will be held in January 2013, a judge decided Thursday.Superior Court Judge John Vogt made his decision after meeting privately with suspected killer Leroy Anthony Johnson, 45, and his attorneys, David Mugridge and Harry Drandell.After the confidential hearing, lawyers for the three other defendants -- Jose Reyes, 21, Dawn Singh, 37, and Neko Wilson, 30 -- agreed to the delay. Outside court, Mugridge declined to say what he and Drandell told the judge, but he did say that the prosecution has granted a defense request to perform DNA testing on Johnson's bloody clothing that he wore on the day Sandra and Gary De Bartolo were slain.Mugridge contends that if the victims' blood isn't on Johnson's clothing, then it will bolster his argument that Reyes is the actual killer.

    Sheriff's reports say only Reyes and Johnson entered the De Bartolo home when the couple was killed.Reyes' attorney, Michael Idiart called Mugridge's allegation "utter nonsense." The reason Johnson faces the death penalty, Idiart said, is because prosecutors and sheriff's detectives contend he murdered the couple, whose throats were slashed during a robbery inside their home near Kerman High School on July 22, 2009.Idiart said he doesn't blame Johnson's defense team for making the allegation "because they are trying to save his life.""But they are grasping at straws," he said.Prosecutors contend the defendants went to the De Bartolo home to rob them because it contained a large-scale indoor marijuana-growing operation. Reyes, Singh and Wilson face life in prison if convicted. Two other defendants -- Chris Butler and Andrew Jones -- already have accepted plea agreements to testify for the prosecution. They face a maximum prison sentence of about 26 years once the trial is over.According to sheriff's reports, authorities received a tip that the De Bartolos were going to be robbed. The couple was under surveillance by law enforcement when they were killed, the reports said.The reports also say Butler told detectives that a bloody Johnson left the De Bartolo house through the front door and headed to the getaway car driven by Singh. "I think they're dead," Johnson said, according to Butler's statements to sheriff's investigators.Butler said he saw Johnson with a knife and heard him say he killed the couple because "they didn't give him what he asked for," the sheriff's reports said.But Mugridge said Thursday he believes Reyes is "the actual slayer" because he slipped out the back door when the couple was killed. He then avoided arrest for nearly a week and never turned over to detectives the clothing he was wearing the day the De Bartolos were slain, Mugridge said.This was the third time Vogt has rescheduled the trial date. The trial was first scheduled to begin in September, but was then moved to next January. During Thursday's hearing, Vogt would not say why he put off the trial more than year, but he did say the Jan. 7, 2013, trial date is a "firm date," and that it would allow all defense attorneys time to complete their investigation and file any pretrial motions.

    http://www.fresnobee.com/2011/12/22/...#storylink=cpy

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    Give defense access to informant in killing of Kerman couple

    An appellate court wants the Fresno County District Attorney's Office to find the female informant who helped authorities solve the killing of a Kerman couple four years ago so defense lawyers can interview her.

    Appellate justices also want prosecutors to find out whether the Sheriff's Department and police agencies obtained information about the double killing from other informants. If so, the information should be turned over to defense attorneys, the justices said.

    The 5th District Court of Appeal ruling this week overturned Superior Court Judge John Vogt's decision in November to deny the defense's request for the information.

    Leroy Johnson, 46, Jose Reyes, 22, Dawn Singh, 38, Neko Wilson, 31, Chris Butler, 37, and Andrew Jones, 21 were arrested in connection with the July 22, 2009, killings of Gary De Bartolo, 61, and his wife, Sandra De Bartolo, 62.

    The couple had a sophisticated marijuana-growing operation in their El Mar Avenue home near Kerman High School where they were killed.

    Butler and Jones have accepted plea deals to testify against the other defendants. Johnson faces the death penalty if convicted. The other defendants face life in prison. Their trial is pending.

    Sheriff's reports say the informant, known as S.G, tipped off authorities about thieves planning to rob the De Bartolos. But while the De Bartolo home was under police surveillance, the couple was killed, the reports say.

    Wilson's lawyer, Alonzo Gradford, challenged Vogt's ruling, arguing in court papers that S.G. might have information that could exonerate his client.

    According to the ruling, S.G. witnessed members of the Asian Boys Club, two Hispanic men, two Asian females, and another female talk about robbing the De Bartolos. Gradford, in court papers, says one of the participants was Singh.

    The appellate court granted Gradford's request to interview S.G. because she "might be able to identify one or more of the codefendants as being participants in the discussions," the ruling says.

    Regarding the existence of other informants, Vogt denied the defense request after prosecutors said there were no law-enforcement reports regarding other informants helping authorities. But prosecutors made the assertion without being sworn.

    "Any such showing should have been made in sworn testimony and/or declarations declared to be true under penalty of perjury," the appellate ruling says.

    Prosecutors must "make appropriate inquiries" with homicide detectives and officers to determine whether there are other informants. If they exist, prosecutors must inform the defense unless Vogt determines that such information should remain confidential, the ruling says.

    In addition, prosecutors must ask detectives and officers if any information about S.G hasn't been turned over to the defense. If no such information exists, prosecutors must say so in a declaration under penalty of perjury, the justices said.

    http://www.fresnobee.com/2013/03/22/...#storylink=cpy
    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

    "Y'all be makin shit up" ~ Markeith Loyd

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    Read the opinion here.
    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

    "Y'all be makin shit up" ~ Markeith Loyd

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    Senior Member Member Jeffects's Avatar
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    Who even cares about the death penalty in California? The families of the victims of these terrible crimes have probably given up seeing justice served here. The freaks on death row here will out-live most of us.

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    January 27, 2014

    Trial in slaying of Kerman couple delayed


    By Pablo Lopez
    The Fresno Bee

    The murder trial for three people accused of killing a Kerman couple and robbing them of their indoor marijuana-growing operation will not happen in April as planned, a judge said Monday in Fresno County Superior Court.

    Judge John Vogt said there are too many unresolved issues dealing with potential evidence to set a new trial date.

    Instead, he scheduled an April 28 hearing to resolve the issues.

    Six people were initially charged with the July 2009 slayings of Gary De Bartolo, 61, and his wife Sandra De Bartolo, 62, inside their El Mar Avenue home near Kerman High School.

    Jose Alfredo Reyes, Chris Bernard Butler, and Andrew DaWayne Jones, have reached plea deals and are potential witnesses in the trial of Leroy Anthony Johnson, 47, Dawn Marie Singh, 39, and Neko Wilson, 32.

    If convicted of the July 22, 2009 killings, Johnson could be sentenced to death, while Singh and Wilson face life in prison without parole.

    Sandra De Bartolo was a secretary at Kerman High School. Gary De Bartolo had owned an auto glass repair business.

    Sheriff's reports say police and sheriff's deputies had the De Bartolo home under surveillance on the morning of the slayings after an informant tipped them off about a pending robbery there by Asian gang members.

    Instead, the defendants are alleged to have shown up.

    While Singh, Butler, Jones and Wilson waited outside the De Bartolo home, Johnson and Reyes went inside, the sheriff's reports said. Inside the home, the couple's throats were cut, the reports said.

    Afterward, Butler told investigators that a bloody Johnson left the house through the front door, holding a knife.

    In court Monday, defense lawyers discussed evidence that had not been turned over to them, specifically sheriff's dispatch logs and investigative reports concerning the female informant who tipped off authorities.

    In March last year, the 5th District Court of Appeal said information about the informant and her dealings with law enforcement could be relevant.

    Prosecutor Jeff Dupras said in court Monday that he has given confidential reports about the informant to the judge, who in turn said he will review the reports before making a decision on whether they should be disclosed to defense lawyers.

    http://www.fresnobee.com/2014/01/27/...#storylink=cpy

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    Kerman double murder trial delayed to March

    By Pablo Lopez
    The Fresno Bee

    The trial for two of three people accused of killing a Kerman couple five years ago has been delayed to March in Fresno County Superior Court because a key witness -- a confidential police informant -- can't be found to testify.

    Judge John Vogt ruled in July that Dawn Marie Singh, 39, and Neko Wilson, 32, will be tried separately from Leroy Anthony Johnson, 47.

    The three defendants are charged in the 2009 slayings of Gary De Bartolo, 61, and his wife Sandra De Bartolo, 62, whose throats were slit inside their El Mar Avenue home near Kerman High School. Police said the defendants went to the couple's home on July 22, 2009, to rob them of their large-scale, indoor marijuana operation.

    Vogt had scheduled an Oct. 14 trial date for Singh and Wilson. They face life in prison if convicted.

    Monday, he delayed the trial after learning that the informant, a woman known only as S.G. in court papers, hasn't stayed in touch with authorities. A warrant has been issued for her arrest.

    Sheriff's reports say S.G. tipped off authorities about thieves planning a home-invasion robbery of the De Bartolos. But while the De Bartolo home was under surveillance by Kerman police and sheriff's deputies, the couple was killed, the sheriff's reports say.

    Six people were initially charged with the double murder. Jose Alfredo Reyes, 24, Chris Bernard Butler, 38, and Andrew DaWayne Jones, 23, have accepted plea agreements and are potential witnesses in the trials of Johnson, Singh and Wilson.

    A trial date for Johnson, who faces the death penalty if convicted, has not been scheduled.

    http://www.fresnobee.com/2014/09/08/...#storylink=cpy

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