SAN BERNARDINO: Trial details gang shootings

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SAN BERNARDINO: Trial details gang shootings

Post  TumbleWeed on Wed Mar 26, 2008 2:39 pm

Trial details gang shootings
Threats and attack preceded slaying
Mike Cruz, Staff Writer
Article Launched: 03/25/2008 10:44:51 PM PDT

SAN BERNARDINO - Keith Slaughter Jr. may have earlier fired a gunshot at his 14-year-old cousin Jarred Mitchell before Mitchell was eventually fatally shot in May 2006, according to court testimony.

Slaughter may have also been provoked to come through the neighborhood before the shooting.

San Bernardino police were told by a witness that a young man taunted and challenged Slaughter during a cell phone conversation to come to West Home Avenue in the days before the fatal shooting.

"Come through. Come through. We got guns," the young man reportedly told Slaughter.

The witness relayed the conversation to Detective Glenn O'Neal during a recorded interview played for jurors on Tuesday in Superior Court.

The witness told O'Neal that Slaughter responded, "Make sure you got your stuff."

The young man speaking with Slaughter then taunted him further, telling him to come through now.

"It may be tonight. It may be the next day," Slaughter said. "But when I come through, all you (expletive) gonna feel it."

Slaughter is on trial for the shooting of Mitchell, another shooting on West Alturas Street that severely wounded a man, and for threatening a young woman.

Slaughter has pleaded not guilty to the 20-count criminal complaint that includes one count of murder and 13 counts of attempted murder.

In her opening statement to jurors, Deputy District Attorney Lisa Rogan described the evidence against

Slaughter as "a classic gang case," complete with threats, intimidation, reluctant witnesses and other witnesses with hazy memories.

Another witness told detectives that Mitchell had identified Slaughter as firing a gunshot at him on West Home Avenue in the days before the fatal shooting.

"I heard the gunshot while I was standing there in the kitchen," the witness told O'Neal in a recorded interview.

The witness then ran outside to see his young sister, Mitchell and another young man walking up the driveway.

Mitchell was mad about being fired at, the witness recalled.

"He said that his cousin shot at him," the witness told O'Neal in another recorded interview played in court.

The detective then asked if Mitchell had said which cousin.

"He said Keith," the witness replied.

Mitchell suffered fatal gunshot wounds while hanging out with friends on May 22, 2006, on West Home.

A female friend had stopped her Honda Accord along the curb, and Mitchell was leaning in through the driver's window to talk with her, according to witnesses.

Music was playing from the car's stereo.

A Chrylser, which witnesses said was seen passing the area earlier, came through again and stopped.

Its occupants fired numerous gunshots, striking Mitchell and wounding others.

The woman in the Honda had tried pulling Mitchell into the vehicle through the window, but she was unable to, she testified earlier.

The Honda sped away to safety, but the woman soon returned and tended to Mitchell.

A county forensic pathologist testified that gunshot wounds found on Mitchell's body during an autopsy were consistent with the way witnesses say he was shot.

Mitchell suffered two gunshot entry wounds on his back - on the lower right side and the left side in the middle.

The bullet on the left side exited the victim's body at the left shoulder and then entered his neck, Dr. Steven Trenkle said to the jury.

"This bullet went up into the head through the base of the skull," Trenkle said. The cause of death was a gunshot wound to the head, he said.

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