Murder suspect set free; man held in fatal hit and run

Court Roundup

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Courtesy image.

A second jury deadlocked Jan. 27 in the case of a for­mer El Cajon man involved in a 2000 murder trial, and the judge dismissed the case, setting him free.

Edward Jamar Brooks, 39, was released from jail Jan. 27 about six hours after the six man, six woman jury dead­locked 9-3 in favor of acquit­tal following 16 hours of de­liberations over four days.

This was a retrial for Brooks, whose first jury dead­locked 9-3 for conviction on Oct. 31, 2019, in the death of LeRay “Mac” Parkins, 71.

Deputy District Attorney Christina Arrollado told San Diego Superior Court Judge David Gill she was not ready to dismiss the case against Brooks, and that a third trial was possible.

“I don’t see any justification for trying it a third time,” re­sponded Gill. “I don’t know if you will ever get 12 people to agree.”

“I will exercise my own discretion and dismiss the charges,” said Gill, ordering Brooks’ release.

Brooks was not present because he had the flu so se­verely he could not attend the hearing as jurors explained they were hopelessly dead­locked.

“I think it was the fairest of trials,” said attorney Rob­ert Ford, who represented Brooks.

Brooks, who was 20 years old when Parkins was blud­geoned to death with a base­ball bat on Aug. 23, 2000, testified that a Spring Valley man he was with that day killed Parkins.

Brooks testified he was sell­ing crack cocaine on Cham­bers Street in El Cajon when two acquaintances picked him up and drove him to North Park.

Afterwards, frustrated ju­rors spoke to both attorneys about why they couldn’t reach a verdict. Several pointed out that Brooks’ DNA on the empty pockets of Parkins’ pants where his wallet was taken didn’t prove he killed him.

“The pocket led us to the event, but there was no solid proof (of murder by Brooks),” said one juror.

“It only put him there,” said another juror.

“We kept going back and forth,” said another.

Jurors said they did not hear testimony from Lester Bell, now 39, or Terrence Brown, now 38, in the retrial as the prosecutor decided not to present them as witnesses. The first jury heard Bell and Brown who said Brooks killed Parkins, but they said they wanted more confirmation.

“We didn’t have their per­spective on what happened that day,” said a juror.

Jurors asked to rehear Brooks testimony in their deliberations from the court reporter.

“I’m very disappointed,” said the prosecutor after­wards.

Before attorneys left the courtroom, Gill commented “It was well tried. You gave it your best shot, Ms. Arrol­lado,” said Gill.

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A Julian man remains in jail without bail after being charged with felony hit and run in the death of a La Mesa man riding a bicycle on De­hesa Road.

Kevin Charles Wilson, 56, was killed Jan. 20. He was a letter carrier for 25 years at the Andrew Jackson Post Of­fice in San Diego.

Craig Wendell Nelson, also 56, has pleaded not guilty to hit and run and possession of methamphetamine in El Ca­jon Superior Court.

A judge set $100,000 bail on the hit and run case, but there is no bail on a 2019 case of driving under the influence of drugs. A Feb. 11 prelimi­nary hearing has been set.

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Sheriff’s deputies arrested 21 people last week on nar­cotics offenses and outstand­ing warrants following a 10-month investigation into drug sales at Lindo Lake County Park in Lakeside.

Those arrested will be ar­raigned in either El Cajon Su­perior Court or federal court this week.

“This operation was con­ducted in order to keep our parks and recreational areas safe for children, their fami­lies, and the entire commu­nity to enjoy,” said the Jan. 30 press release from the sheriff’s department.

Deputies were investigat­ing the sales of methamphet­amine, heroin, and fentanyl.