A man was formally charged with murder on Tuesday after authorities claim he used a ghost pistol in five deaths in Stockton, California, between April 2021 and late last month. Wesley Brownlee, 43, was detained by police early on Saturday while they conducted a car check in relation to a suspected serial killer. Before being caught, he was allegedly preparing to target another victim, according to officials.
Three counts of murder were brought against Brownlee on Tuesday. These three fatalities are among the six that police attribute to serial killers. The murders happened between April 2021 and September 27 of this year. The district attorney anticipated filing more charges in two additional Stockton homicides as well as an attempted homicide.
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The case has been connected to a murder in Oakland, but the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office said it was unclear at this time whether Brownlee would face charges there. In addition, Brownlee is charged with having a weapon and ammunition in his possession as a felon.
Brownlee’s public defender was successful in getting arraignment set on November 14th. She made no attempt to refute or address the accusations. Requests for comment from the San Joaquin County public defender’s office were not immediately fulfilled. According to county jail records, Brownlee was ordered held without bond in court on Tuesday. He gave off the impression of being stoic and emotionless.
Ballistics evidence, according to San Joaquin County District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar, will be essential to Brownlee’s defense, she said at a news conference on Tuesday. A “polymer” weapon, according to the prosecution, was the only one connected to the string of killings in Stockton. At the news conference, Salazar addressed the accused, saying, “We can prove with high confidence the same gun was used in the three homicides we’re charging you with today.”
Salazar stated, “We think we have the offender.” I have no doubt that you’ll learn about extra costs in the near future. The weapon, according to the prosecution, is a “ghost gun,” a handgun that may be 3D printed without a federally required serial number or the typical background check and waiting period associated with the purchase of a firearm from a retailer.
It’s believed to be one of the first documented instances of a serial killing allegedly being committed using a ghost pistol. Such weapons have occasionally been utilized as disposable items, much like so-called “burner” telephones. Police and the U.S. Justice Department are concerned about guns, which are now illegal in some areas because they allow anyone to own a firearm without following the proper legal procedures.
Brownlee was not allowed to own a gun since he had been convicted of a crime. He has many drug offenses on his criminal record, but no violent crimes have been reported. He received a two-year prison term for drug possession and sale in the early part of 1999, according to a law enforcement source familiar with the case. Approximately seven months later, he was granted parole.
According to the source, he received a three-year state jail sentence in 2001 for trafficking or distributing drugs. In 2003, he was granted parole, and in 2006, he was removed from that status. According to Sacramento’s NBC affiliate KCRA, he was accused of possessing crack cocaine in the past.
According to Stockton police, the majority of the serial killer’s victims were Latino, as is the case in the neighborhood; one has been identified as Black, and three have been identified as homeless. He stated, “We know this person wasn’t stealing, robbing, or doing anything other than killing. You are aware that a murderous individual is motivated at this time.
The lone attack outside of Stockton occurred on April 10, 2021, and it is thought that it was the serial killer’s first. Juan Vasquez Serrano, 39, was shot in the early morning darkness in Oakland, according to officials. All of the attacks, according to police and prosecutors, have some connection to the weapon that was taken by police on Saturday.
The 2021 victims have connected to the spree thanks in part to a state-wide ballistics database, according to investigators. The formal charges filed on Tuesday related to the deaths of Juan Cruz, 52, of Stockton, who passed away on September 21; Jonathan Hernandez Rodriguez, 21, of Stockton; and Lawrence Lopez Sr., 54, of Stockton, who passed away on September 27.
Salvador Debudey Jr., 43, also of Stockton, died on August 11; Paul Alexander Yaw, 35, also of Stockton, died on July 8; and others. The solitary survivor of the spree, a 46-year-old Black woman from Stockton who was living on the street, was shot when she argued with a man outside her tent on April 16, 2021.
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