Three men were charged with murder; two of them made their first courtroom appearance. The other defendant is expected to be arraigned Thursday afternoon.
Modesto police investigators believe Robert Earl Davis Jr., 21, of Riverbank was in a vehicle driven by Ryan DeSousa, 20, of Modesto, when Davis fired a gun that killed Xavier and injured a 6-year-old boy as they played outside a home in the 1400 block of Lake Park Court.
DeSousa's arraignment hearing was held Wednesday afternoon in Stanislaus Superior Court. Mary Ellen Hertle, DeSousa's court-appointed attorney, entered a not guilty plea on her client's behalf.
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Davis and DeSousa are accused of murder in Xavier's death and attempted murder stemming from the shooting of the 6-year-old boy. Police officials say shots were fired at several homes when the boys were struck by stray gunfire on Lake Park, south of Briggsmore Avenue and just east of Lakewood Avenue in east Modesto.
Judge Ricardo Córdova set DeSousa's bail at $2.5 million. He remained in custody at the Stanislaus County Jail. DeSousa was scheduled to return to Córdova's courtroom Thursday afternoon to appear with co-defendant Davis.
Davis on Wednesday remained in custody at the Santa Cruz County Jail. Deputy District Attorney Wendell Emerson, who is prosecuting both murder cases, told the judge that authorities expected to return Davis to Stanislaus County on Thursday.
David Wilmore Jr., 21, of Modesto also appeared for his arraignment hearing Wednesday afternoon. He is accused of murder and robbery in Lea's death.
Wilmore did not enter a plea Wednesday. Defense attorney Lewis Wentz told the judge that Wilmore's father was in the process of hiring him to represent Wilmore.
Judge Córdova postponed Wilmore's arraignment until Feb. 27. Córdova ordered Wilmore to remain in custody without bail.
Wilmore also faces enhancements for allegedly firing a gun and acting with premeditation in connection with Lea's death, according to the criminal complaint. If convicted, enhancements could lengthen prison sentences.
Lea was gunned down at Ustach Park, near Hillglen Avenue in Modesto’s Village 1. Early reports to police indicated the shooting occurred on the basketball courts on the north end of the park; police later said officers found Lea injured in the street.
Detectives initially suspected Wilmore acted as Davis’ accomplice in the shooting that killed Lea. But they declined to say what was Wilmore’s alleged role in Lea’s shooting.
Modesto police officials have said investigators believe Davis was a suspected shooter in both killings, but he will only be charged in the boy's death, for now.
In an announcement Tuesday afternoon, police officials said detectives have received new information since Davis' arrest, so authorities will hold off on charging Davis in Lea's death. Detectives are working to corroborate the information in the investigation.
“Detectives will continue their investigation into Davis’ involvement and will work to bring justice to Cody’s family,” said Sgt. Steve Hinkley of the Modesto police Violent Crimes Unit.
Davis' charges include enhancements for allegedly using a gun and committing the crimes while out on bail in an unrelated assault with a gun case. He and DeSousa both face an enhancement for allegedly acting with premeditation in the shooting of the two boys.