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Suspected California Serial Killer Facing Four More Murder Charges After String of Slayings Near Stockton
Wesley Brownlee is also facing a new attempted murder charge from the Office of the District Attorney San Joaquin County. He's now accused of seven murders spanning 2021 and 2022.
A suspected California serial killer is now facing four more murder charges, and an attempted murder charge, after he was first arrested in October while carrying a gun, according to the Office of the District Attorney San Joaquin County.
Wesley Brownlee, 43, is now formally charged with murdering Juan Vasquez on April 10, 2021; Paul Yaw on July 8, 2022 and Salvador Debudey Jr. on Aug. 11, 2022, according to the DA’s office. He’s also accused of killing Mervin Harmon on April 16, 2021 — and trying to murder Natasha LaTour on the same day.
In October, he was charged with the murders of Jonathan Rodriguez, who was killed on Aug. 30; Juan Cruz, who was murdered on Sept. 21; and Lawrence Lopez Sr., who was killed on Sept. 27.
Harmon is the sole newly identified victim, as his death had not been previously connected to the killings, according to Fox 40 in Sacramento.
Authorities believe they stopped Brownlee as he was allegedly hunting for his next victim in October, according to previous Oxygen.com reporting.
“We are sure we stopped another killing,” authorities said in the press release.
At the time of the arrest, Stockton officers were conducting surveillance on Brownlee, a person of interest in a string of killings in the area. According to ABC Sacramento affiliate KXTV, investigators followed Brownlee after he left his Stockton apartment, located just minutes from where five of the six homicides occurred.
“We watched his patterns and determined early this morning; he was on a mission to kill,” police told the station. “He was out hunting.”
Based on his behavior, they stopped him, searching both him and his car, where they found a firearm of a similar caliber to the weapon used in the homicides, officers said.
Prosecutors said Brownlee used a ghost gun for three of the murders, and Stockton police have confirmed that ballistics tests have linked the shootings to one another, according to Sacramento NBC station KCRA.
Investigators said he is a truck driver who recently moved from Oakland to Stockton, where he has some relatives, according to KCRA.
Natasha LaTour is the only known survivor of the serial killer, suspected of attacking her in April 2021.
“There were no words exchanged. Didn’t come any closer. Didn’t say anything. Just started shooting. I saw flashes,” LaTour told San Francisco’s ABC 7 in October.
She said she was standing next to train tracks in Stockton when she saw the gun pointed at her. She was shot about 10 times, she told ABC 7.
“There’s a burning that’s incredible. You’re wet all over, and you don’t know why you’re wet, and I was really glad my legs moved, but every time I moved my legs I got wetter, and I thought I was dying,” LaTour told ABC 7.
LaTour said she crawled away and started calling for help.
“I heard a car come by me, and I heard a door open or close, and I could tell they went down a distance, and then I heard a man say, ‘I’m here, we’re calling 911 for you, don’t worry,’” she told the station.
Even though she never saw the shooter’s face, Stockton police said her description of the suspect turned out to be key in catching him.
“She did let us know it was a male suspect,” Stockton Police Chief Stanley McFadden told ABC 7. “She was able to provide us a height and weight and that’s what we connected with the video we pushed out.”
Police released a still shot and surveillance video of the suspected killer in October, according to previous Oxygen.com reporting.
In December, a reward of $125,000 went to two tipsters for helping in this case, according to Fox 40 in Sacramento.
Stockton Police Department and other departments are still investigating Brownlee. He will be arraigned on the new charges on Jan. 3, according to the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office.