Here's a quick update in the case of the November 12 murder of 28-year-old William Sims outside a pool hall in El Sobrante: To the surprise of prosecutors and the defense, a criminal grand jury in Contra Costa County last week returned indictments against the three suspects previously named in the case, but they rejected the hate-crime enhancement sought by prosecutors.
The killing, which happened outside the Capri Club just days after the election, was said at the time to be racially motivated, but apparently the grand jury did not see enough evidence of that and this was surprising, as the Chronicle notes, because criminal grand juries by and large tend to give prosecutors whatever they ask for.
Charged in the crime are Daniel Porter-Kelley, 31, of Richmond; Ray Simons, 32, of Hercules; and Daniel Ortega, 31, of Novato.
As we now learn via the indictments, Sims was found with his face badly beaten and bloodied, as well as with a gunshot wound to the head. It is believed that Simons fired the fatal shot that killed Sims from the backseat of a vehicle in which Ortega was sitting in the passenger seat. The vehicle was being driven by a woman, Dina Herrera, who is serving as a witness for the prosecution.
It remains unclear how Porter-Kelley is believed to be involved, and his attorney, Colin Cooper, tells the Chronicle that his client had nothing to do with the crime, and should have been tried separately from the other two. He also suggests that Herrera is "not credible," and complains he was unable to cross-examine her before the grand jury. Cooper further suggests that Herrera "has repeatedly lied every time she’s been interviewed by law enforcement."
Cooper tells the paper he will continue to seek bail for his client, and hopes the judge may grant it now that the hate-crime enhancement has been removed.