Hearing on Santa Rosa home invasions to steal pot delayed; one suspect pleads guilty
A preliminary hearing was delayed Thursday for four men charged with killing a Santa Rosa man and wounding another during a pair of 2018 home-invasion robberies described by law enforcement as botched missions to steal California marijuana to resell on the East Coast.
Melcon Lane resident Jose Luis Torres, 54, was shot and killed in his house during one of the invasions, and his wife and one of his children were tied up. An unidentified man was shot and wounded during an invasion by the same group that morning at a Fulton Road house, officials said.
Prosecutors charged Mussie Himed, 29, of Santa Rosa, Tyrone Mcrae, 26, of Jackson, Mississippi, Jonathan Jackson, 20, of Richmond Hill, New York and David Ealey, 24, of Richmond, Virginia, in an 11-count complaint alleging murder, robbery, burglary, kidnapping and false imprisonment connected with the attempted robberies on Feb. 8, 2018.
The case has faced multiple delays since September 2018, when it was originally set for a preliminary hearing, when a judge determines whether there is sufficient evidence for a trial. Himed, Mcrae, Jackson and ?Ealey are scheduled to return to court June 11.
Last Friday, a fifth suspect Amber Hembree, 22, - who was apprehended in her hometown of Richmond, Virgina, four months after the invasions - reached a plea agreement with prosecutors that could send her to prison for 12 years.
Hembree pleaded no contest to seven counts of felony robbery, according to the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office. Judge Chris Honigsberg will consider the plea agreement at her June 27 sentencing hearing.
Hembree’s attorney Victoria Shanahan declined to discuss the reasons for the deal or Hembree’s role in the robberies.
The Santa Rosa home-invasion robberies are linked to another pair of heists that occurred one month later in a rural Petaluma neighborhood. That case ended up in the hands of federal law enforcement and is being tried in U.S. District Court in San Francisco.
At least three of eight suspects in the federal case have pleaded guilty to their roles in a series of home invasions ?March 12 in a neighborhood off Bodega Avenue just west of Petaluma city limits.
Authorities have not yet explained how the Santa Rosa and Petaluma cases are related.
You can reach Staff Writer Julie Johnson at 707-521-5220 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @jjpressdem.