Authorities allege that a white couple shot and stabbed the father of two because of his race
A white couple has been charged with a hate crime in connection to the killing of a Black Navy veteran in California.
Christina Lyn Garner, 42, and Jeremy Wayne Jones, 49, are accused of shooting and stabbing 30-year-old Justin Peoples, a Black father of two, on March 15 at a Chevron gas station in Tracy, PEOPLE reports. He died from his injuries hours later at the San Joaquin General Hospital.
As reported by Yahoo, in a complaint filed on March 18, prosecutors allege Peoples “was intentionally killed” due to his race.
Garner reportedly shot Peoples and Jones stabbed him at the gas station. A third person, Christopher Dimenco, 58, has been charged as an accessory to murder for allegedly helping the couple “avoid or escape” arrest, according to San Joaquin County District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar.
Garner and Jones were arrested a day after the killing. Salazar said in a statement that both were “arraigned on murder charges with a special circumstance alleging the victim, Justin Peoples, was intentionally killed because of his race, color, religion, nationality, or country of origin.”
Jones has several tattoos that highlight his connection to white supremacist groups, including a swastika tattoo that features the words “white pride.” In addition to the hate crime charge, he and Garner are both charged with first-degree murder.
“There is no place for hate in our community,” Salazar said in the statement. “No one should be victimized because of their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or religion. These types of crimes are reprehensible and my administration will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law to hold those who perpetrate hate accountable.”
Peoples’ father, Maurice Peoples, told CBS San Francisco that his son “was just a remarkable young man.”
He says that the crime has had a devastating impact on the family.
“It’s going to always hurt. I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. It’s going to be a long hard trial and tribulation in my heart,” Maurice said at a news conference.
Justin Peoples’ aunt shared her thoughts on the importance of resolution in her nephew’s death.
“It doesn’t make a difference what color you are. Some are Black, some are brown, some are light-skinned….we have all colors but we know the human race is the number one color we need to be fighting for,” said Berniece Bass.
Garner, Jones, and Dimenco are currently jailed without bond and awaiting an arraignment hearing scheduled for April 4.
“There is no room for hate in Tracy or anywhere,” Tracy Police Chief Sekou Millington said via press release. “When community members are victims of crimes related to hare, we will use our resources to bring those responsible to justice.”
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