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Adelanto gang member convicted of 2009 double murder sentenced to death

 

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. - An Adelanto gang member convicted of the 2009 double slaying of 28-year-old Ealy Davis, Jr. and 26-year-old Shameka Reliford has been sentenced to death.

On Oct. 3, James Ellis, 28, was found guilty by a jury of two counts of First Degree Murder and one count of Active Participation in a Criminal Street Gang. Jurors also found true the special circumstance allegations of lying in wait, murder during the commission of a robbery, murder while an active participant in a criminal street gang and multiple murder which made Ellis eligible for the death penalty.

Based on the jury's recommendation and the evidence presented during the Penalty Phase, Judge Eric M. Nakata sentenced Ellis to death in Victorville Superior Court Friday.

"Seeking the death penalty is one of the single most difficult decisions I have to make, and it is reserved for the worst of the worst criminals," said District Attorney Mike Ramos. "When we seek the death penalty, it is important to remember that it is not a reflection of our brutality, but rather an expression of our disdain for the defendant's brutal actions."

On Nov. 23, 2009, Ellis plotted with three other men and a woman to rob Ealy Davis:

Forrest Taylor, 30, of Los Angeles, was sentenced to Life Without the Possibility of Parole May 14, 2013.

Sandra Smith, 37, of Adelanto, was sentenced to 18 years in state prison Feb. 6, 2012.

William Jacobs, 30, of Adelanto, was sentenced to 13 years, 8 months Feb. 19, 2016

Joseph Bowen, 22, of Victorville was sentenced to probation for being an accessory after the fact Jan. 6, 2012.

On Nov. 23, 2009, Forrest Taylor, William Jacobs, Joseph Bowen and Sandra Smith were gathered at Smith's residence in Adelanto. During this gathering, there was discussion about a desire to acquire drugs and money. One of them suggested robbing a drug dealer. During the planning process, Ellis produced a handgun and showed it to the others.

Smith then suggested they rob Davis, a drug dealer she knows. Smith knew Davis because he was dating her half-sister Shameka Reliford.

According to Supervising Deputy District Attorney Britt Imes, who prosecuted the case, Smith provided Taylor with Davis' cell phone number. Several phone calls were placed to lure Davis to a secluded area near Westside Park Elementary School.

At the agreed-upon meeting place, Ellis approached Davis' car. Davis was seated in the driver's seat and Shameka Reliford was in the right front passenger seat. Two other passengers were in the backseat.

Ellis asked Davis, "Do you got me?" and Davis replied "Yes."

This exchange was repeated, and then Ellis took a step back, produced a handgun and fired 4 to 5 times into the vehicle. Davis was killed immediately, and Reliford was taken to Victor Valley Community Hospital, where she later died.

"The defendant has demonstrated a desire to continue a life of violent gang behavior up to and through the prosecution of this case," said Imes. "While seeking the ultimate punishment is a tough decision for all involved, I am pleased that a hardworking and dedicated jury representing the communities of this county held the defendant responsible for his actions and provided the families some sense of justice."

This case was investigated by the Adelanto Police Department and the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Homicide Division.

 

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Apple Valley man kills wife while 4 children are home, authorities say

An Apple Valley man shot and killed his wife on Saturday with the couple’s four young children inside the house at the time of the shooting, authorities said.

Just before 10 p.m., Tom Robinson, 53, called 911 and told a dispatcher that he had killed his wife, 35-year-old Rocio Martinez, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement.

Deputies arriving to the house in the 13300 block of Applewood Road three minutes after Robinson’s phone call found Martinez’s body inside, the department said.

The couple’s four children — ages 1, 4, 5 and 7 — were in the home, authorities said. None of them were injured. They were taken into the custody of the San Bernardino County Children Services.

Robinson was arrested at the scene, authorities said.

After being interviewed by homicide detectives, he was booked into the High Desert Detention Center in Adelanto on suspicion of murder. Booking records show that Robinson is being held without bail.

Robinson is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday.

Authorities are asking anyone with information about the case to contact Det. Jon Cahow or Sgt. John Gaffney with the department’s homicide detail at 909-387-3589. Callers who want to remain anonymous can call the We-Tip Hotline at 1-800-78CRIME or leave information at www.wetip.com.

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Talented Young Athlete Identified as Man Killed in Victorville Home Depot Shooting

VICTORVILLE – A 27-year-old man who worked hard to achieve his dreams despite losses early on was shot dead on Friday. Witness accounts are nothing less than chilling with some describing the victim, now identified as Robert Curtis Jr. crouching his 6’10” body behind a black sedan attempting to protect himself from approximately four shots fired in his direction. The motive still unknown; the suspects still at large authorities said.

On Friday, May 26, 2017, Victorville Station deputies and emergency medical personnel rushed over to the Home Depot located on Roy Rogers Drive near Civic Drive. When they arrived they found Curtis unresponsive and suffering from at least one gunshot wound. CPR was administered before and while he was transported to a Victor Valley Global Regional Medical Center. Despite lifesaving efforts, Curtis died as a result of his injuries shortly after arriving.

Witnesses said that there was an argument leading to a shooting. Curtis was shot by a suspect who then got into a vehicle with two other people and fled the scene in a black 4-door sedan, possibly an older Honda Civic. The vehicle was last seen heading westbound toward Amargosa Road. The suspect was only described as a black man with short hair, who was wearing a long sleeve brown shirt and blue jeans. The parking lot was closed with crime scene tape for the investigation.

Curtis, who was born on January 15, 1990, and was raised in the City of Pomona. At the young age of 5, Curtis lost his father, Robert Curtis Sr. to a shooting and his mother, Starlea Hall was diagnosed with brain cancer approximately 4 years ago. Curtis went on graduate from Capistrano Valley High School in Mission Viejo. He went on to play basketball for Saddleback College, which is a community college in Mission Viejo. Although colleges were eyeing the obviously talented basketball star, Curtis decided to move on to a professional career. In 2012, Curtis was selected in the 2012 NBL Canada draft. He followed his dreams playing for the National Basketball League of Canada for several seasons.

He also had a passion and talent for football, which his mother was against due to the higher risk of injuries. Finally, he got his mother’s blessing to pursue his true love [football] and played for the LaBelle Community Football League, a semi-professional league.

The investigation is ongoing and authorities are seeking any information that may lead to the arrest of the armed and dangerous suspect and/or those with him. Anyone with information regarding this investigation is urged to contact Detective Scott Stafford or Sergeant Robert Warrick, Homicide Detail (909) 387-3589. Callers wishing to remain anonymous are urged to call the We-Tip Hotline at 1-800-78CRIME (27463), or you may leave information on the We-Tip website at www.wetip.com

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