The preliminary hearing of six defendants accused of murder in the death of an innocent woman who was killed by a stray bullett during a shootout at a south area barbershop was delayed today due to a conflict on the part of one of the defense lawyers.
Meanwhile, it was disclosed in Sacramento Superior Court today that a seventh defendant has been arrested in the case. He is Ernest Burton Stoute, 28. According to jail and court records, Stoute was arrested Jan. 6 and charged three days later. His case is expected at some point to be joined with the other six defendants, attorneys said court today.
Deputy District Attorney Scott Triplett did not say what role Stoute might have played in the Dec. 14, 2010, shootout in which a stray bullet killed Monique Nelson, 30, as she wrapped her body across her 2-year-old son to protect him when the gunfire erupted. The boy had been strapped in his security seat in her sports utility vehicle.
Attorney Donald Masuda, who is representing defendant Larry Dean Jones Jr., 30, was the defense lawyer who was forced out of the case. Masuda asked Judge Ernest W. Sawtelle to be relieved from representing Jones when it was learned that the attorney had represented a man in an old Elk Grove suspicious death case who now has been subpoenaed to testify for the prosecution in the barbershop killings.
Masuda told the judge he conferred in the hallway with the witness and his mother. The lawyer said the witness, who was once arrested as a suspect in the Elk Grove case that was later determined not to be a homicide, refused to waive his attorney-client privilege with Masuda, who might have to cross-examine him during the trial and preliminary hearing. Details on the Elk Grove suspicious death case were not immediately available.
Sawtelle ordered a hearing on Thursday to appoint a new attorney for Jones, who expressed disappointment when he was told Masuda was disqualified from representing him.
"I don't know how this happened," Jones said.
The other five defendants in the case are Louis Jones Mitchell, 20; his brother Lonnie Orlando Mitchell Jr., 25; Dominique Marcell Lott, 28; James Leo Carney III, 32; and Charles Barksdale, 30.
Nelson was killed in the parking lot outside Fly Cuts & Styles on Stockton Boulevard, during the shootout inside. Sources said the shooting resulted from a dispute between Barksdale and the Mitchells. Barksdale confronted the Mitchells who were getting their hair cut when the gunfire broke out.
Barksdale's younger brother, Marvion Dashawn Barksdale, 20, also was killed in the firefight. Marvion Barksdale, who authorities said accompanied his brother in the confrontation with the Mitchells, has not been listed as a murder victim in the case.