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Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Derelle Oliver charged with two counts of murder

Derelle Oliver, who's being held in lieu of $2 million bail, is charged with two counts of murder and other charges in the Dec. 6 deaths of 17-year-old Monique Palmer and 15-year-old Michael Taylor. Deputy District Attorney Mike Still argued during a preliminary hearing last month that Oliver aided and abetted the actual killers and was part of a group that caused the murders.
The prosecutor tried to convince Judge John Thompson that the murders were a natural and probable consequence of Oliver pulling out a gun earlier and pointing it at people. But the judge dismissed the murder charges, ruling the prosecution produced no evidence that the defendant was directly involved in the fatal shootings. Still re-filed the murder charges last week. A hearing is planned to seek dismissal of the charges for a second time, defense attorney John Stathis said. A readiness conference is scheduled for May 18. At his arraignment today, Oliver pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, conspiracy to assault with a firearm and assault with a firearm. Stathis unsuccessfully urged Judge Jeffrey Fraser to order the media to obscure his client's face, saying he didn't want Oliver associated with murder charges that had been dismissed once and may be again. A number of witnesses testified at the preliminary hearing that the defendant and other gang members crashed a party in Valencia Park in rival gang territory, and that Oliver pointed a gun at people leaving the party and later at a group walking home that included Palmer.
Two gunmen later snuck up behind the group that included both victims and shot them. Palmer, a senior at Lincoln High School, was pronounced dead at the scene. Taylor, a freshman at Point Loma High School, died at a hospital. Still said Oliver bragged on his MySpace page that he couldn't wait "to beat those people" at the party, and that he and his fellow gangsters armed themselves before heading there. Thompson said earlier there was no doubt the murders were carried out by gang members in rival gang territory, but no evidence to link Oliver to the shootings. The investigation into who killed the victims is continuing, Still said


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