Two white California residents have been arrested in connection with the murder of a Black Navy veteran at a local gas station in Tracy, California. The San Joaquin County District Attorney has charged both parties with murder and hate crimes, and a third person has been apprehended for assisting the couple in their escape attempt.
Christina Lyn Garner, 42, and Jeremy Wayne Jones, 49, have been charged with murder in the death of Justin Peoples, 30, in Tracy, California, according to Tori Verber Salazar, the first female district attorney in San Joaquin County.
These charges are accompanied by hate crimes charges, as the couple is suspected of killing People because of his race.
Garner and Jones are both white, and People was a Black man. According to Tracy police, the slaying was caused by a confrontation between the couple and the man at the gas station.
Jones has been charged with one count of premeditated murder in the first degree, weapons enhancement for the use of a knife, and special circumstances for the hate crime.
Garner has been charged with one count of murder, one count of criminal possession of a firearm, and one count of weapons enhancement for the use of a firearm during the commission of a felony with exceptional circumstances for the hate crime.
According to the DA’s office, the fatal assault occurred on Tuesday, March 15.
Officers from Tracy Police Department responded to a report of a man being shot at the Chevron gas station on North Tracy Boulevard.
Peoples was laying on the ground when the cops came, wounded by a single gunshot and many stab wounds. Peoples was pronounced dead at a local hospital roughly two hours after the incident, according to Channel 3000.
The department’s Special Investigations Unit and Special Enforcement Team were called in to investigate the case, and Garner and Jones were arrested within days.
The two suspects were found and detained without incident by the Tracy Police Department SWAT squad in a Stockton residence on Wednesday, March 16.
The couple was charged with the former sailor’s death and the use of weapons (a gun and a knife) in the killing by the Office of the District Attorney, who also named their associate Christopher Dimenco, 58, as an accessory to their crimes.
“Hate has no place in our community,” Salazar said. No one should be discriminated against on the basis of their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or religion.”
She went on to say, “These types of offenses are abhorrent.” “And those who propagate hate will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law by my administration.”
According to People magazine, she also believes her office has information linking Jones to white nationalist groups.
Salazar did not elaborate on why she feels there is a link between the suspects and hate groups.
“I can state that I wouldn’t have amended the offense unless I had evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that this was a hate-motivated crime,” she said. We feel that, based on the history of the persons involved, we can make this a hate crime and prosecute it all the way to trial.”
“The suspects’ past included sympathy for Nazi, white pride, skinhead, and Aryan brotherhood,” Salazar added.
The District Attorney’s office provided photos of the man’s tattoos. One of his body inks has the words “white pride” on it, while another has a swastika on it.
“There is no tolerance for hate in Tracy or anywhere,” Tracy Police Chief Sekou Millington stated. We will use our resources to bring those guilty to justice if community members are victims of hate-related crimes.”
According to Millington, Peoples’ death was “unprovoked” and “a senseless act of violence,” based on what his department had learned.
Maurice Peoples, the soldier’s father, said his son had just texted him on the day of his murder to set up a lunch appointment for the two of them the following day. During a press conference regarding the case, he described his son as “a remarkable young man” and held out photos of him to the reporters.
“It’s always going to hurt.” “This is something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy,” the devastated father said. “In my heart, it’s going to be a long, terrible struggle and tribulation.”
Others in his family praised him for being a good father to his two children and urged the community to unite.
Bernice Bass, one of his relatives, remarked, “Today it’s his child, tomorrow it can be mine.” “And it may be yours tomorrow.” It makes no difference to me what hue you are. You are standing up for this child who did not deserve to die.”
During Friday’s news conference, Bobby Bivens, president of the NAACP’s Stockton branch, told ABC 10 News, “We never assume that this sort of hate is in our town, but as we are all here today, we see that hate is here.”
“A young man who was well-dressed, had served in the military, and had graduated from our local JC is out here shopping and is murdered,” he says.
Salazar has a message for anyone planning to enter the area with the intent of committing hate crimes against her constituents.
“If you believe you can come to my county and do this type of violence, with this kind of hatred,” Salazar added, “I guarantee you we have the best police and sheriff in this county, and we will find you.” “These idiots, these horrible idiots, will not define who we are.” We are self-assured in who we are. We despise them for who they are.”
The three defendants will be arraigned before Judge Ronald Northup on April 4, 2022, but the DA has requested that they remain in detention until then.