A third suspect has been arrested and charged with murdering four relatives of former National Football League star Kermit Alexander last August, authorities said Saturday.
Los Angeles police arrested Darren Charles Williams, 24, of Los Angeles in the Bay Area community of Richmond last week, Chief Deputy Dist. Atty. Gilbert Garcetti said. Williams apparently fled to the Bay Area after the murders, prosecutors said.
Williams, a reputed gang member, was returned to Los Angeles and charged with four counts of murder. Prosecutors are also alleging special circumstances--multiple murders--meaning that Williams could face the death penalty if he is convicted.
He pleaded innocent at his Los Angeles Municipal Court arraignment and is being held without bail in the County Jail, as are his two co-defendants, Horace Edwin Burns, 20, and Tiequon Aundray Cox, 18.
Shot at Mother's Home
Prosecutors believe that Cox was the triggerman who cut down Alexander's mother, Ebora, 58; his sister, Dietra, 24, and two nephews, Damani Garner-Alexander, 13, of San Francisco and Damon Bonner, 8, of Pittsburgh inside Ebora Alexander's home.
Another nephew, Ivan Bonner, 13, escaped death in the early morning attack by hiding in a closet when the attack occurred. Alexander's brother, Neal, 33, also escaped injury and grappled with one of the intruders, who fled the residence after the shootings.
Police said the gunmen mistakenly went to the Alexander home on West 59th Street to retaliate for a shooting the previous night. The house number that the gunmen were seeking was the same as the Alexanders' but it was on a different street, police said.
"The Alexander family had absolutely no connection whatsoever with any of these individuals," Police Chief Daryl F. Gates said after Burns was arrested in November. "Their only crime was to live in a block with the same number but on the wrong street. This is about as tragic a situation as you will ever, ever see."
Prosecutors would not say what evidence led to Williams' arrest or what role he allegedly played in the killings. However, at the preliminary hearing for Burns and Cox in January, two witnesses testified that a third person called C. W. might have been involved.
Prosecutors said C. W. is Williams' nickname.
The witnesses testified that they had overheard Burns say that the murders had happened after Burns, Cox and C. W. had gone to the Alexander home to retaliate for a shooting at C. W.'s house the night before.
A preliminary hearing for Williams has been scheduled for March 15. Cox and Burns were ordered to stand trial for the murders after their preliminary hearing in January. They face the death penalty if convicted.