FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – A 34-year-old man has been sentenced for a murder that took place on Easter morning in 2013, officials with the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office announced on Tuesday.
Officials say 34-year-old Jerel Stanfield of Fresno was sentenced to a term of 85 years to life behind bars for first-degree murder, along with other felony charges.
According to court documents, on March 31, 2013, Fresno Police officers were dispatched after a call to 911 reported a shooting. When they arrived at the scene said found William Simpson suffering from several gunshot wounds. He was taken to the hospital but died while en route.
Prosecutors say the evidence at trial revealed that Stanfield was allegedly a member of a criminal street gang, shot and killed Simpson in the early morning hours of Easter Sunday for wearing a hat depicting the letter “P.”
Immediately after shooting Simpson, Stanfield pointed the gun at the victim’s fiancé who was awakened by the shots and trying to protect her young child. They were not physically harmed, DA’s officials say.
According to county prosecutors, later that afternoon, law enforcement located Stanfield and a vehicle pursuit started. During the pursuit, Stanfield’s vehicle was disabled by law enforcement, and he ran away. While doing so, officials say he reached towards his waistband and was shot by pursuing officers. The murder weapon was later located on Stanfield, officials add.