|For Immediate Release
Case # 06ZF0138
April 14, 2008
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
SAN DIEGO MAN CONVICTED OF SUPER BOWL SUNDAY MURDER OF SUSPECTED IRVINE DRUG DEALER WITH TWO FRIENDS
*Two co-defendants face trial in June 2008
SANTA ANA – A San Diego man was convicted today of murdering a suspected drug dealer with two friends in a plot to steal money and cocaine on Super Bowl Sunday. Brandon Turner, 22, Oceanside, was found guilty by a jury of felonies for murder, murder during the commission of another felony, second degree robbery, and the transportation of a controlled substance. The sentencing enhancement for the personal discharge of a firearm causing death was found true. Turner faces a maximum sentence of life without the possibility of parole at his sentencing on July 18, 2008 at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-30, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
Stephen Bennett, 36, Bernard Smith, 43, both of Vista, San Diego, are also charged with felonies for murder, murder during the commission of another felony, second degree robbery, and the transportation of a controlled substance. Bennett and Smith are also charged with the possession of a firearm by a felon. Smith faces a sentencing enhancement for the personal discharge of a firearm causing death. Bennett is charged as a third striker with two 1992 robbery conviction priors. If convicted, they face a maximum sentence of life without the possibility of parole. Bennett and Smith are scheduled for trial on June 23, 2008 at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-30.
On February 5, 2006, Turner devised a plan to rob a drug dealer in order to steal money and drugs. Bennett and Smith are accused of devising the plan with Turner. Bennett is accused of calling a suspected drug dealer, Brian Gray, and setting up a meeting under the pretense of purchasing drugs. The defendants drove from Vista to the Irvine home of the victim with the intention of stealing drugs from Gray. Turner shot the victim several times, killing him. Smith is also accused of shooting the victim. The defendants then stole cocaine from the victim’s home and fled the scene.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Ebrahim Baytieh of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting the case.