|For Immediate Release
Case # 06ZF0138
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
SAN DIEGO MAN FACES TRIAL FOR 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 faces trial tomorrow for murdering a suspected drug dealer with two friends in a plot to steal money and cocaine on Super Bowl Sunday. Brandon Turner, 22, Oceanside, is charged with felonies for murder, murder during the commission of another felony, second degree robbery, and the transportation of a controlled substance with a sentencing enhancement for the personal discharge of a firearm causing death. He faces a maximum sentence of life without the possibility of parole if convicted. Opening statements are scheduled to begin tomorrow, Thursday, April 3, 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, Bennett, and Smith are accused of devising a plan to rob a drug dealer in order to steal money and drugs. Bennett is accused of calling a suspected drug dealer, Brian Gray, and setting up a meeting under the pretense of purchasing drugs. The defendants are accused of driving from Vista to the Irvine home of the victim with the intention of stealing drugs from Gray. Turner and Smith are accused of shooting the victim several times, killing him. The defendants are accused of then stealing cocaine from the victim’s home and fleeing the scene.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Ebrahim Baytieh of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting the case.