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Gang member ordered to stand trial in 6-year-old's death

Crime, Law and JusticeCrimeHomicideTheftJustice SystemSnoop Dogg

A documented gang member was ordered Friday to stand trial in the fatal shooting of a  6-year-old girl in Moreno Valley, prosecutors said.

Keandre Narkie Johnson, 21, has been charged with one count each of murder, attempted murder and participation in a criminal street gang, along with special circumstance allegations. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Judge Larrie Brainard ruled Friday there was enough evidence for Johnson to stand trial and ordered him back in court Dec. 27.

Prosecutors allege Johnson opened fire Sept. 7 on a group of people gathered near a garage at a Moreno Valley home, striking 6-year-old Tiana Ricks and her 26-year-old father.

Both were taken to a hospital, where the girl was pronounced dead.

Investigators received "numerous tips" that ultimately led them to identify Johnson as their suspect, Riverside County prosecutors said in a statement Thursday.

Johnson was arrested 10 days after the shooting.

Authorities said Johnson is a documented member of the Moreno Valley-based Edgemont Criminals. He was also considered a parolee-at-large for not reporting to his parole officer in connection with a 2011 Riverside County burglary conviction.

Johnson is being held without bail at a Riverside County detention center.

Tiana's death drew attention from rappers The Game and Snoop Lion, who both contributed funds toward the girl's funeral. The Game, who is from Compton, pledged $10,000, his representative confirmed.

Long Beach rapper-turned-reggae artist Snoop Lion (formerly known as Snoop Dogg) donated an undisclosed amount.

A special circumstance allegation that the child's slaying was committed to further a criminal street gang makes Johnson eligible for the death penalty if convicted, the Riverside County district attorney's office said. Dist. Atty. Paul Zellerbach has not decided whether to seek the death penalty.

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Twitter: @katemather | Google+
kate.mather@latimes.com

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