FRESNO, California (KGPE) – The murder trial begins against a Fresno man accused of killing four people in 2017.
Kori Muhammad is accused of gunning down three men in downtown Fresno and murdering a motel security guard.
Investigators say Muhammad confessed to the killings and told them he targeted his victims because they were white.
Muhammad is facing four counts of murder and four counts of attempted murder. The Fresno County DA is asking for the death penalty.
On Wednesday, it all about the prosecution, the defense, and the Judge hammering out the details and laying out the foundation of how the trial will go.
It’s been nearly three years since Muhammad allegedly shot and killed Carl Williams, 25, who was a security guard at the Motel 6 on Blackstone and Ashlan Avenues.
Then nearly a week later, police say Muhammad went on a shooting spree in downtown Fresno.
Their officers say Muhammad gunned down Zackary Randalls, 34, Mark Gassett, 37, and David Jackson, 58.
Since then, Muhammad has been in court to decide whether or not he was mentally fit to stand trial and after being found competent, the capital murder trial for Muhammad is finally moving forward.
As he sat in the courtroom, Muhammad appeared to be rather composed compared to his previous courtroom outbursts.
But on Wednesday, the judge Jonathan B. Conklin reminded Muhammad that because he’s warned Muhammad in the past, that kind of behavior will not be tolerated.
“If there’s an uncontrolled outburst beyond perhaps a normal reaction to something, so if there’s a sigh or something that appears to be a normal reaction, I’m not talking about that, I’m talking about something being disruptive and there are no more warnings,” says Conklin.
Conklin, the prosecution and the defense went over their motions that each filed. The defense had in their motion to possibly have a mental health expert.
“I would allow an expert witness again on proper foundation to testify about the examination, mental illness detected, manifestation of that mental illness but not the ultimate issue of the intent or the capacity to perform that intent,” says Conklin.
Before concluding for the day, they talked about jury selection that will take place in the first week of February.
The judge mentioned they might interview more than 300-plus jurors.
We reached out to the families of Gassett and Williams. They were not quite ready to go on camera but Williams’ mother, Francine Williams, sent us the following statement:
“Our family is very happy that the trial is starting. My son Carl and all the other victims deserve to have justice and peace. My son had a kind soul and a promising future. He had just got promoted within both jobs. Carl and Wendy were just starting to plan their wedding and looking to buy their first house. Carl was an amazing son who was loved and respected by so many.”
The court will resume on Thursday at 10 a.m. to go over photos that are to be considered for the trial. Then jury selection will start on February 3.