4 more slayings tied to California serial killer
STOCKTON, Calif. (AP) – A Northern California man suspected of serial killings has been charged in four more murders this week, bringing the total to seven deaths since April 2021, authorities said.
Shootings terrorized the Central Valley town of Stockton earlier this year as police searched for a man dressed in black who appeared to be “on a mission” as he hunted down victims in ambush-style shootings. He was also connected to violence in Alameda County.
Three of the four murders listed in court documents Tuesday have already been solved by authorities — who earlier said they had linked suspect Wesley Brownlee to the killing of six men and wounding of a woman — but charges had not been filed.
Tuesday’s fourth case, a homicide in April 2021 that brings the total to seven, was previously unreported.
Brownlee was arrested in October when he was “out hunting” for another possible victim in Stockton, police said at the time. He will appear in court on January 3. His public defender, Allison Nobert, did not immediately return a request for comment.
Brownlee was initially charged only in the deaths of three victims in Stockton: Jonathan Rodriguez Hernandez, 21, who died Aug. 30; Juan Cruz, 52, who died on September 21; and Lawrence Lopez Sr., 54, who died Sept. 27.
The amended complaint, filed Tuesday, also accuses Brownlee of killing Paul Yaw, 35, who died July 8, and Salvador Debudey Jr., 43, who died Aug. 11, in Stockton, as well as shooting firearms in Alameda County. Juan Vasquez Serrano, 39, on April 10, 2021, and Mervin Harmon on April 16, 2021.
He is also charged with attempted murder in the April 16, 2021, killing of Natasha LaTour, 46.
Harmon had not previously been publicly linked to the Brownlee shooting spree. Additional details about Harmon’s death were not immediately available.
A convicted drug offender, Brownlee was prohibited from owning a gun and he allegedly used an unregistered “phantom gun” to commit at least some of the killings, police said in October after his arrest.
In January 1999, Brownlee was sentenced to two years in prison in Alameda County, which includes the city of Oakland, for possession and sale of a controlled substance, the California Department of Corrections said. He was released on bail in August 1999 after serving seven months.
Brownlee was convicted again in Alameda County in December 2001 and sentenced to three years for the same crime. He was granted parole in May 2003 and released three years later.
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