Confessed killer Kori Ali Muhammad was charged Wednesday with three counts of murder in connection with a downtown Fresno shooting rampage that left three people dead on April 18 – a crime that makes him eligible for the death penalty.
Muhammad, 39, already is charged with murder in Fresno County Superior Court with the April 13 shooting death of security guard Carl Allen Williams III at Motel 6 on Blackstone Avenue in Fresno. He also is accused of the attempted murder that night of security guard Oscar Menjivar.
A new criminal complaint filed Wednesday charged him with the murders of Mark Gassett, David Jackson and Zackary Randalls, and the attempted murders of Stephen Walter, Michael Flores and Mark Greer. He also was charged with special circumstances that could make him eligible for the death penalty – committing multiple murders, and selecting his victims based on race.
The Fresno County District Attorney’s office said it had not yet decided whether to seek the death penalty, a decision it said would come later.
Muhammad’s arraignment is pending the outcome of a psychiatric evaluation that was ordered by a judge last week after Muhammad entered the courtroom in shackles and yelled: “Let black people go!”
Judge W. Kent Hamlin suspended criminal proceedings and appointed a doctor to examine Muhammad. Hamlin then rescheduled Muhammad’s arraignment for May 12.
Until then, Muhammad will remain in jail in lieu of $2.6 million bail, Hamlin said.
Police say Muhammad was the gunman in a shooting rampage April 18 in central Fresno that killed Randalls, 34, of Clovis; Gassett, 37, of Fresno; and Jackson, 58, of Fresno.
If convicted of the Motel 6 murder charge, Muhammad, 39, faces life in prison. But he could face the death penalty or life in prison without parole if convicted of the multiple murders.
Police Chief Jerry Dyer has said the four killings were fueled by Muhammad’s hatred of white people. Muhammad is black. All of the murder victims were white.
Court records say Muhammad has several aliases, including Kori McWallace, Kori Taylor, Cory Allen Taylor and Cory Allen Muhammad. He grew up in Fresno, but later moved to Sacramento, where he racked up nine criminal cases in Sacramento Superior Court between 1997 and 2004, including a gun conviction, online records indicate. His criminal record also includes making criminal threats, forgery, false imprisonment and driving under the influence, online records state.
In October 2006, he was sentenced to federal prison after pleading guilty in U.S. District Court in Fresno to possession with the intent to distribute crack cocaine and being a felon in possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking. He was released from prison in September 2011 and placed on supervised release.
He completed supervised release in September last year, court records say.
This story will be updated.