3 accused of murder in Sacramento mass shooting are eligible for the death penalty

Exactly one month after a shot in downtown Sacramento left six people dead, officials announced murder charges for three armed suspects. Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said Tuesday charges were filed against Smiley Martin, her brother Dandrae Martin and Mtula Payton, who has not yet been arrested.

All three suspects are charged with the murder of bystanders Johntaya Alexander, Melinda Davis and Yamile Martinez. All charges were reinforced with the use of a pistol in the commission of crimes. All three suspects would have used 9mm pistols and Smiley would have used a 9mm automatic pistol with a high-capacity magazine.

All three men, who are convicted criminals, are also accused of illegally possessing firearms. Smiley Martin and Mtula Payton had previously been arrested several times, while Dandrae Martin had been arrested once.

Mtula Payton was out on bail for another case when the shooting occurred, Schubert said. In a separate case, also filed on Tuesday, he was charged with three counts of fraud.

The three suspects could be sentenced to death if found guilty, but the decision to pursue the death penalty has not yet been made, Schubert said.

Investigations into the shooting are ongoing and further charges may be filed in relation to the 12 people injured in the shooting. Officials said over 100 shells were recovered at the scene and believe the shooting was gang related.

“This was a gunfight between two rival gangs,” Schubert said at a news conference. “Evidence shows rival gang members armed themselves with weapons.”

The community shared more than 200 tips, videos and photos, Sacramento Police Chief Kathy Lester said.

“This level of cooperation speaks to the character of those who have come forward,” Lester said at the press conference. “It validates our work to also earn the trust and cooperation of our community.”

While the police have arrested the Martin brothers, Payton remains a fugitive.

The other dead in the shooting were identified as Sergio Harris, Devazia Turner, and Joshua Hoye-Lucchesi. Turner was identified as another gunman involved in the shooting, according to the Associated Press. Harris and Hoye-Lucchesi were also involved in the dispute with the Martins, Turner and Payton.

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