One of the men accused of the fatal robbery and rampage in Southern California in July faces trial – Orange County Register

SANTA ANA — A 44-year-old man accused of riding in a rampage that killed three people in a series of robberies at grocery and fast food stores across Southern California was on trial Monday on four counts of the robbery.

Jason Lamont Payne is charged with four counts of robbery, with penalties for a weapon used in the commission of the robberies.

Co-defendant Malik Donyae Patt is not due to appear in court again until January 20. The two will be tried separately.

New details of the fatal assaults, which included a series of July 11 robberies at 7-Eleven stores, emerged at Payne’s preliminary hearing.

Santa Ana detective Gus Moroyoqui said Payne repeatedly denied being involved in or having any knowledge of the robberies and shootings, while Patt insisted he acted alone, the detective testified.

Payne, who previously worked for Door Dash, ran a delivery service and let Patt drive him around because Payne said he had a significant marijuana habit. Payne would deliver food, flowers and medicine, among other things, the detective said.

The two drove around in a black BMW that Payne’s mother had co-signed the loan for. Payne said the only time Patt drove it alone was when he loaned it out on July 6.

Payne told Moroyoqui and his partner during about 90 minutes of questioning that he was often “drowsy” when Patt drove them around on delivery orders.

Once, when Payne woke up and saw that Patt had left him alone, as he returned to the BMW, Payne asked Patt what he was doing. Patt said he would “get money,” Moroyoqui testified.

Payne told detectives he understood Patt committed a robbery, Moroyoqui testified. But Payne insisted he knew nothing about the shooting and would not tolerate it, the detective testified.

Investigators questioned Patt for about three hours, Moroyoqui testified.

Patt told detectives to “keep my uncle out of this,” Moroyoqui said, referring to Patt’s affectionate term for Payne, even though the two are unrelated.

“He had nothing to do with it,” Patt allegedly told detectives, Moroyoqui testified.

“The guy doesn’t condone that kind of thing,” Patt allegedly told detectives, Moroyoqui testified.

When asked by Payne’s attorney, Tracy Lesage, Moroyoqui admitted Patt said during questioning, “It’s all me.”

“I’m not lying — I’m deadly serious,” Patt allegedly told detectives, testified Moroyoqui. “They told me to be honest, and I’m honest,” he reportedly added.

Payne reportedly told detectives, “After I’ve done my job, I’ll go to sleep right away,” Moroyoqui testified.

“I’m not doing anything — I don’t even know what was going on,” Payne allegedly told detectives, Moroyoqui testified.

When asked about his marijuana use, Payne said he smoked “more than Snoop Dogg,” the rapper Moroyoqui testified.

“That’s why he was so tired – and that’s why Mr. Patt drove,” Moroyoqui testified.

“He buys the good stuff… He goes to the medical supply store. Did he tell you that?” Lesage asked.

“Yes,” Moroyoqui said.

Payne added, “I sleep all the time… because I work a lot,” Moroyoqui said.

Payne also allegedly told detectives, “If he did that stuff, I didn’t get anything,” Moroyoqui testified.

The detective also testified that Patt was aware of the heavy media coverage of the shootings and that he even knew one of the victims’ names from news reports, Senior Deputy District Attorney Mena Guirguis said during questioning. Patt also reportedly told detectives that he burned a sweater he saw in surveillance footage leaked by the media, Guirguis said.

Brea Police Officer Brian McDuffy testified that he participated in surveillance of the two suspects for three days following the shooting. McDuffy said he once followed them into a Big 5 sporting goods store in Inglewood, where he saw them trying to buy 9mm ammo.

The clerk later told McDuffy that he told them they needed some paperwork to complete the purchases and they said they would come back with them later, McDuffy testified.

Payne was at one end of a counter while Patt was at the other end, mostly talking to the clerk, McDuffy testified.

Payne was held accountable under a legal theory of aiding and abetting stalemate. Even if he didn’t know his co-defendant was armed, Payne can still be held liable for the weapon used in the robberies, Guirguis said.

Payne was scheduled to be arraigned on Oct. 25 at the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana. Payne is charged in connection with robberies in Santa Ana, La Habra and Brea.

Patt is charged with three counts of murder, two counts of attempted murder, three counts of robbery and an armed theft car. The charges against Patt include allegations of special circumstances of multiple murders and murder in the commission of a robbery. The case also includes various penalties for personal use or firing a handgun.

Patt faces a possible death sentence if prosecutors choose to pursue it. If convicted in court, he would face at least life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

The crime spree allegedly began on July 9 with the killing of a homeless man at block 16100 of Parthenia Street near Woodley Avenue in North Hills. This murder happened about 200 yards from a 7-Eleven store that was robbed later that day.

Authorities said the 7-Eleven crimes took place on July 11 — or 7-11 — beginning in Ontario. Police said just after midnight the 7-Eleven at 636 N. Vine Ave. was robbed. The suspect ambushed the store with a pistol, but no shots were fired and no one was injured.

At 1:35 a.m. on July 11, the 7-Eleven store at 2410 W. Arrow Route in Upland was robbed, police said.

At 1:50 a.m., the 7-Eleven store at 5102 La Sierra Ave. robbed by gunman in Riverside. This robbery escalated when the suspect shot and killed a customer who was hospitalized.

Minutes after 3 a.m. on July 11, the Yum Yum Donuts store at 2441 N. Tustin St. in Santa Ana was robbed, police said. About 20 minutes later, 24-year-old Santa Ana resident Matthew Rule was fatally shot outside the 7-Eleven store at 302 E. 17th St. in Santa Ana.

Officers found Rule in the parking lot with a gunshot wound to the torso, Santa Ana Police Department Sgt. Maria Lopez said. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.

Santa Ana Police Chief David Valentin said Rule was not the shooter’s primary target. The shooter aimed at someone else, but Rule “intervened” to “divert” the robber and was shot, Valentin said.

Brea Police said they responded at 4:17 a.m. at the 7-Eleven store at 109 W. Lambert Road and found a male store employee fatally shot in a hold-up that officers determined was a robbery. The clerk was later identified as 40-year-old Matthew Hirsch, who died at the scene, police said.

About half an hour later, the 7-Eleven store is at 381 E. Whittier Blvd. robbed and two people shot dead in La Habra, according to Sgt. Eric Roy of the La Habra Police Department. Both victims were taken to a hospital and survived. Police said the victims were an employee and a customer.

Based on surveillance footage, police said they could link the same suspect to all the raids.

The Ontario and Upland robberies are prosecuted in San Bernardino County. One of the men accused of the fatal robbery and rampage in Southern California in July faces trial – Orange County Register

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