Sacto 9-1-1
June 7, 2010
Variety characterizes seven murder trials in Sacramento courts

By Andy Furillo
afurillo@sacbee.com

Seven murder trials are underway or about to begin in Sacramento Superior Court, including one death-penalty case, a couple of reputed gang slayings, a purported fratricide and a traffic collision where the prosecutors say the defendant was under the influence of methamphetamine and heroin.

Here's the rundown:

• Jury selection is underway in front of Judge Maryanne G. Gilliard in the death-penalty case of Glenn Wade Jennings, 57. A convicted 16-time robber, Jennings had been paroled from prison only three months when he attacked Kulwant Sufi, 61, with a steak knife during an 8:30 a.m. robbery at the GK Discount Liquor on Florin Road on June 2, 2004, police and prosecutors say.

• Opening statements are scheduled to begin Tuesday in front of Judge Cheryl Chun Meegan in the murder trial of Gabriel Ricardo Dominguez. The 19-year-old defendant is accused in the May 1, 2009, stabbing death of Samuel Sanchez, 21, during a gang fight outside the Express Stop Liquor on Julliard Drive at Folsom Boulevard.

• Pretrial motions were being heard today in front of Judge Kevin J. McCormick in the murder trial of 51-year-old Calvin Lynn. He is accused of killing his brother, Lawrence Dean Lynn, 54, and stashing his body in a yard in Del Paso Heights. Authorities say the Lynn brothers had argued about their late-mother's house.

• Motions are set to begin today in Judge Trena H. Burger-Plavan's courtroom in the case of Michael Eugene Jastraub, 52. Officials said Jastraub had a long history of methamphetamine abuse and causing crashes while under the influence of illegal substances before he triggered the fatal May 15, 2008, wreck that took the life of Janell Cummings. Witnesses said they saw Jastraub driving erratically and that he had been involved in a hit-and-run just minutes before he hit Cumming' vehicle at the intersection of Florin Road and Fletcher Farm Drive.

• Evidence is wrapping up in the trial of Christopher Brian Rogers, 35. He is accused in the Nov. 25, 2004, shooting death of Juanita Johnson on 40th Street. Rogers was arrested and charged as a result of a cold DNA hit. The trial is taking place in front of Judge Roland L. Candee.

• Closing arguments could take place as soon as Tuesday in the murder trial of Marvel Barksdale. The 17-year-old defendant is accused in the Aug. 22, 2008, gunshot killing of Robert Haynes, 16, at a Meadowview house party. Police and prosecutors say the killing was gang-related.

• Testimony continues in front of Judge James L. Long in the trial of Jason Dewayne Shepherd, 27, and his younger brother, Shawn Christophe Shepherd, 25. They're accused in the May 6, 2008, bludgeon death of their uncle, David Brian Bishop, 47, whose body was found the next month in a creek in Idaho. The defendants had taken their uncle's credit cards and other belongings in a slaying prompted by Jason Shepherd's anger when he suspected Bishop of stealing his girlfriend's underwear, authorities said.

Call The Bee's Andy Furillo, (916) 321-1141.

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