By Amy Berberyan
RIVERSIDE, CA – Shelvin Terrell Jones’ petition to be resentenced was dismissed last Friday in Riverside County Superior Court after the judge found him guilty of first-degree murder—again.
Jones, who was initially convicted of first-degree murder for a crime he committed in 1994, had filed to have his conviction reassessed in an attempt to revise his sentence.
Several witnesses, including some of Jones’ co-defendants, testified in court.
One witness said that one of Jones’ co-defendants, Romel Pace, “got knocked down by another guy” during a fight at an apartment.
A second witness said this fight was “between Romel and a Crips gang member.” And after the fight, the first witness got into a car with Pace, Jones, and a few others and they drove around.
During his testimony, Romel said he was “upset that nobody helped him in the fight.” He also admitted to giving his gun to Jones during the drive.
Furthermore, after listening to the others tease Romel about the fight in the car, the second witness said “the defendant became upset. Said he wanted to get a Crip.”
According to the second witness, who was driving the car, “Romel was the first person to point out the two kids riding their bikes.”
Romel said during his testimony that the two boys were “wearing blue, baggy clothes.” Since that is the color associated with their rival gang, they mistook the boys for Crips members.
The group attacked the boys, dragging the victim from his bike and beating him.
Romel said “he was the first one to get back to the car” after grabbing a blue rag from the victim.
Afterwards, “[Romel] heard a shot. He saw the defendant was the last one to get back to the car. And as he did, he turned and shot four or five more times.”
The first witness said she fell asleep at some point in the car; when she woke up, “she saw the defendant standing over [the victim]. She could tell it was the defendant because of his distinctive braided ponytail.”
A third witness said she “saw a group of what appeared to be six people beating a kid who was on his bike.”
By the time she stopped her car, the victim was lying in a fetal position on the ground with Jones standing over him. The witness “saw the person raise his arm and then she heard six shots.”
Jones said “he was trying to shoot [the victim] in his rear end. I’m not sure how many times I shot him.” Jones admitted to having got the gun from Pace and acknowledged the crime he had committed.
“[Pace] gave it to me,” said Jones. “I was very drunk. I’m not sure why he gave it to me.”
When asked about why he shot the victim, he said “it was about gang relations and the alcohol got the best of me.”
Jones disapproved of his attorney’s work and “thinks [his] crime should be second-degree rather than first-degree.”
According to the judge, the number of shots fired and the circumstances considering his gang member’s humiliation insinuated that the murder was an act of retaliation.
The court came to the same conclusion as the original jury did—“that the defendant is guilty beyond unreasonable doubt of willful deliberate premeditated first-degree murder.”