Orange County District Attorney
FONT> Susan Schroeder
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For Immediate Release
September 21, 2006
Public Affairs Counsel
(714) 347-8408 Office
(714) 292-2718 Cell
THREE SAN DIEGO MEN TO BE ARRAIGNED FOR MURDERING SUSPECTED IRVINE DRUG DEALER ON SUPER BOWL SUNDAY
SANTA ANA – Three men from San Diego County will be arraigned tomorrow after the Orange County Grand Jury indicted them for murdering a suspected drug dealer on Super Bowl Sunday. Stephen Bennett, 35, Vista, Bernard Smith, 42, Vista, and Brandon Turner, 20, Oceanside, are charged with murder, murder during the commission of a felony, 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 an enhancement for the personal discharge of a firearm, and Turner faces an enhancement for the personal discharge of a firearm causing death. Bennett is charged as a third striker because of his two 1992 robbery convictions.
If convicted, they face a maximum sentence of life without the possibility of parole. They are being held without bail and are scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow, September 22, 2006, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-5, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
On February 5, 2006, the defendants are accused of devising a plan to rob a drug dealer in order to steal money and drugs. They are accused of driving from Vista to the home of a suspected Irvine drug dealer who lived on Parkview Lane near Culver Street and the 405 Freeway. Under the pretense of purchasing drugs, the three are accused of meeting with the victim, and of killing him by shooting him multiple times. The three are accused of fleeing the apartment after stealing the victim’s cocaine.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Ebrahim Baytieh of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting the case.