Two men have been convicted in connection with the 2016 murder of a single father in Turlock that is believed to have been a case of mistaken identity, the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office announced Friday.
Devenae Damarea Price, 26, of Ceres, was convicted of second-degree murder with use of a firearm and being a felon in possession of a firearm and Kevin Jerome Barnes Jr., 21, of Modesto, was convicted of being an accessory to murder on Aug. 25 at the conclusion of a seven-week jury trial. Deputy District Attorney Jeff Mangar prosecuted the case.
On the evening of April 23, 2016, Falane Jones, 37, was shot and killed in the parking lot of an apartment complex on West Hawkeye Avenue across from Donnelly Park in Turlock. Jones had driven there with his uncle to visit relatives.
As Jones and his uncle were getting out of their car, Price drove up alongside them and shot Jones four times in the face, neck and chest, killing him. Two spent .40 caliber casings were found on the ground near the victim, according to the District Attorney’s office
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Two days later, an Alameda County Sheriff’s deputy pursued a black Lexus that fled from a routine traffic stop in San Leandro. The driver of the black Lexus drove down a dead-end street and onto the front yard of a residence then he and three others fled from the vehicle. Price and two women were captured; Barnes escaped but was found by Turlock Police the following month.
Alameda County deputies found two spent .40 caliber shell casings in the Lexus where the windshield meets the hood. They also located a loaded .40 caliber handgun along with several loaded and empty magazines. Those casings were sent to the Department of Justice crime lab for testing and were confirmed to be consistent with the two shell casings found at the murder scene, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
Cellphone records for Price and Barnes indicated they were together on West Hawkeye Avenue in Turlock at the time of the murder.
According to the District Attorney’s Office, Price, days before the start of the trail, wrote a letter urging witnesses to lie and testify that someone else did the shooting. The letter was intercepted by jail staff and provided to the District Attorney.
Jones was a single father with a 9-year-old daughter; he worked at a warehouse in Tracy. Jones was not known to be involved with gangs or drugs. It is believed the murder was committed because Price had mistaken Jones for someone else.
At the time of the killing, Barnes was on felony probation for a 2015 residential burglary out of Sacramento and on bail pending trial for a 2016 attempted murder case in which he is accused of shooting a person on Yosemite Boulevard in Modesto after an argument inside the downtown courthouse.
Price is a parolee who was released from prison for an armed robbery in Contra Costa County 35 days before he killed Jones, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
Price and Barnes are scheduled to return to court Sept. 18th for a trial regarding their prior convictions, which qualify them for increased punishment under California’s “Three Strikes” law.
Price faces a maximum sentence of 60 years to life in prison and Barnes faces a maximum sentence of six years in prison.