Crime

Fresno gang member ordered to stand trial in double homicide case

Domenek Greenberry listens to his attorney during a preliminary hearing Tuesday in Fresno County Superior Court. Greenberry is accused of shooting two men to death.
Domenek Greenberry listens to his attorney during a preliminary hearing Tuesday in Fresno County Superior Court. Greenberry is accused of shooting two men to death. rsyed@fresnobee.com

A Fresno gang member will stand trial on charges of murdering two teenage brothers in a gunbattle with rivals in northwest Fresno in October, a Fresno County Superior Court judge ruled Tuesday.

Domenek Greenberry, 19, will be arraigned on June 14 on charges of killing brothers Willie Ford, 19, and Denzel Ford, 18, at an apartment building near San Pablo and Barstow avenues. The Ford brothers drove to the apartment on Oct. 1 to confront Greenberry because Denzel Ford suspected Greenberry may have slept with his girlfriend, said Scott Baly, defense attorney with the Public Defender’s Office.

Greenberry is the younger brother of former Washington Union High School and University of Houston football player Deontay Greenberry, who was cut by the Dallas Cowboys and Seattle Seahawks in 2015.

The District Attorney’s Office presented testimony from police officers, a crime scene technician, a pathologist and a civilian witness during Tuesday’s preliminary hearing, which was held to determine whether enough evidence exists to take the case to trial.

“I just pulled up and right when I had my back turned, shooting started,” the male civilian witness said. Fresno Superior Court Judge Gary D. Hoff granted media coverage on the condition that civilian witnesses not be identified.

The witness said Greenberry and one of the Ford brothers appeared to be firing at each other, though it was unclear who fired the first shot.

During a pause in the gunfire, Denzel Ford, who had been wounded, approached the witness for help.

“He reached for me,” the witness said, beginning to cry. “He asked for help. He had a gun but he had dropped it.

“When I reached toward him, that’s when the shooting started again,” the witness said. “It lasted it seemed like forever.”

Crime scene technician Cathy Ens reported that there were a total of 12 shell casings collected – 11 from Greenberry’s weapon, which fired .40-caliber rounds, and one from Denzel Ford’s weapon, a 9 mm handgun.

County pathologist Dr. Venu Gopal performed the autopsy on both brothers.

Willie Ford was struck by bullets in the back of the head, the right side of the chest, the left side of the abdomen and the left hand, Gopal said.

A bullet from a previous shooting was also found in Willie Ford’s abdomen. “This appeared to be a bullet the person sustained in December 2013,” Gopal said. “I got the hospital records and looked at the original X-ray from 2013 and that bullet was still there.”

The autopsy of Willie Ford hasn’t been finalized because reports from a ballistics expert regarding the bullet from the 2013 shooting and two other bullet fragments are pending, Gopal said.

Denzel Ford was struck by three bullets. One bullet hit his lower lip, a second went through his left arm and through his chest and the third hit the right side of his chest.

Deputy District Attorney Brian Hutchins said the single shell casing found from Denzel Ford’s weapon and the 11 casings found from Greenberry’s weapon suggest Greenberry “quite clearly opened up in a very deadly and accurate manner. From the 11 shots we have evidence of, he has seven hits.”

Baly said he believed a reasonable case could be made that Greenberry acted in self-defense.

“There were multiple firearms recovered at the scene. Multiple shell casings were recovered at the scene, multiple caliber of shell casings recovered at the scene,” Baly said. Despite only one recovered casing from Denzel Ford’s gun, Baly added, the civilian witness reported both parties were shooting back and forth.

“A very valid question would be, ‘Who fired first?’ ” Baly said.

Razi Syed: 559-441-6679, @razisyed

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