A Fresno man who was shot in the head and back by police during his arrest for alleged murder showed up in Fresno County Superior Court for his preliminary hearing Monday in a wheelchair.
Jerel Stanfield faces charges that include murder, assault with a semi-automatic firearm, assault on a peace officer, and driving recklessly while fleeing from police.
He faces four felony charges in connection with the March 31 killing of William Simpson, 23, who was shot multiple times in the parking lot of an apartment complex at 4140 N. Clark Street near Ashlan Avenue and Highway 41.
Stanfield, 25, faces three felony charges in connection with the wounding of the two other men in a drive-by shooting at Shields and Hughes avenues.
The preliminary hearing, which will resume today , will determine whether there is enough evidence for Stanfield to stand trial.
Police say Stanfield is a high-level member of the Strother Boys street gang. He previously served time in prison for street terrorism and being a felon in possession of a firearm, court records show.
Following Stanfield's arrest, Police Chief Jerry Dyer saturated the streets with police after Dyer said gang members had made threats to harm officers. The extra protection included putting two officers in patrol vehicles and putting motorcycle officers in cars.
The operation, however, drew a protest by about 60 people who gathered April 14 in southwest Fresno. The protesters accused police of racial profiling and excessive force, contending that officers shot Stanfield while he was running away from police.
At Monday's hearing, Fresno police detective Andre Benson testified that he interviewed Simpson's pregnant girlfriend, who told him that Stanfield shot Simpson during the early hours of March 31.
Benson said Simpson's girlfriend also was upset with him for wearing a baseball cap with the letter P around her 3-year-old child. The P stands for the Dog Pound street gang, Benson said.
According to Benson, Simpson, his girlfriend and her child went to the Clark Street apartment complex to stay with a friend. But the friend was not home.
While Simpson stood outside his car, his girlfriend and her child fell asleep in the car, Benson testified. When gunfire erupted, the girlfriend woke up, grabbed her child, and saw Stanfield holding a handgun before he left in a sports utility vehicle.
Police later found a mortally wounded Simpson laying among six Federal-brand 40-caliber shell casings. He was later pronounced dead at Community Regional Medical Center.
Police arrested Stanfield later that day after a police chase in which he crashed an SUV near Arthur and Strother avenues in southwest Fresno. After police shot him, officers found a handgun next to Stanfield that was loaded with Federal-brand 40-caliber bullets, Benson testified.
On cross-examination, Benson admitted that Simpson's girlfriend initially didn't identify the shooter. Benson testified that the woman told him that she feared for her life and that of her child.
But a few days after the killing, she identified Stanfield, who she said was a friend of her brother's and a Facebook friend of hers, Benson testified.
A few days before Simpson was killed, police said Stanfield shot and wounded two men in a car on Hughes Avenue near Shields Avenue. The shooting happened around 7:50 p.m. March 26. The victims were shot by someone in another car, officer Corey Taylor testified.
One of the victims picked Stanfield out of a police photo lineup, detective Conrado Martin testified.
More police officers are expected to testify Tuesday for the prosecution. Judge John Vogt will then decided whether to order Stanfield to stand trial.
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