Fresno gang member pleads not guilty to double murder

Domenek Greenberry
Domenek Greenberry Fresno Police Department

Fresno gang member Domenek Leonard Greenberry pleaded not guilty Tuesday in Fresno County Superior Court to fatally shooting two brothers in a northwest Fresno gunfight earlier this month.

Afterward, his attorney, Scott Baly, said Greenberry, 19, can make a case for self-defense.

“There were a lot of shell casings and multiple firearms found at the crime scene,” said Baly of the Public Defender’s Office. “Those items clearly raise questions of self-defense.”

Greenberry is accused of shooting Willie Ford, 19, and Denzel Ford, 18, outside an apartment complex on San Pablo Avenue near Barstow Avenue, west of Blackstone Avenue, about 11:30 a.m. Oct. 1.

Police say Greenberry, a Fresno gang member originally from San Bernardino, was arrested later that day.

The Ford brothers also were gang members and were armed when they went to an apartment complex to confront Greenberry, police said. One of the slain brothers fired a round at Greenberry, but it’s unclear who fired first, police said.

During the brief court hearing Tuesday, Greenberry waived his right to a speedy trial to give Baly time to study the evidence.

Until his next hearing on Nov. 17, Greenberry will be held in the Fresno County Jail in lieu of $3.2 million bail on the two murder charges, prosecutor Sam Dalesandro said.

During the hearing, family and friends of Greenberry sat on one side of the courtroom, while the family and friends of the victims sat on the other side. Once the hearing was over, the two sides nearly squared off near the third-floor elevators, shouting and cursing each other. It took about six bailiffs, including one ready to use a Taser, to quell the disturbance.

Greenberry is the brother of former Washington Union High School and University of Houston star football player Deontay Greenberry, who was cut this year by the Dallas Cowboys and the Seattle Seahawks.

Their father, Leonard Greenberry, was shot and killed outside Legion Hall in southwest Fresno on Aug. 24, 2014. Michael Murray Johnson, 50, was convicted of the murder in August. Johnson will be sentenced Friday. He faces life in prison.

Domenek Greenberry also faces life in prison if convicted of double murder.

Greenberry has been in trouble before.

In May, he was charged with two felony counts of carrying a loaded and concealed firearm in public. He pleaded not guilty and was free on $17,100 bail. Two months later, he picked up another felony gun charge, but that case was dismissed in August. In September, Greenberry pleaded not guilty to two felony domestic violence charges. He was free on $140,000 bail.

An affidavit in support of a search warrant that was made public Tuesday says at least three guns were discovered at the crime scene after the Ford brothers were killed: a Glock 22 (a .40-caliber handgun), a Bersa .380 and a 9mm silver handgun.

Fresno police detective Ezequiel Suarez said in the affidavit that after the shooting, police arrested Greenberry inside Apartment A of 5377 N. San Pablo Ave. Police found the Glock and the Bersa firearms inside the apartment, the affidavit says. The silver handgun was discovered in the street near a 2008 Chevrolet Malibu that the victims had arrived in.

“Numerous cartridge casing were located in the front of the apartment in a flower bed,” the affidavit says. A white Pontiac and a silver BMW were struck by gunfire.

The affidavit says a possible second suspect, who jumped over a wall after the Ford brothers were shot, remains at large. It also says Greenberry had been a victim of a shooting in the past in southeast Fresno, but the affidavit gave no details.

Police say the entire Ford family also is involved with gangs, and investigators believe the shootings are not the result of a feud between rival gangs, but rather a dispute within a single gang.

Outside court Tuesday, Baly said he would not characterize the slaying of the Ford brothers as a gang shooting.

“This was a conflict between two families, a dispute among friends,” Baly said.

Pablo Lopez: 559-441-6434, @beecourts