43-year-old Wesley Brownlee, the suspect in a string of killings in Stockton this past summer as well as another last year in Oakland, made another court appearance Monday morning but did not enter a plea.
Brownlee was arrested one month ago, on the morning of October 15, not long after Stockton police went public with the fact that they had evidence linking a string of five random murders on the streets of the city. Three of the victims, including a sixth killed in Oakland, were homeless, and the Stockton killings all took place at night in the same five-mile radius.
As the Chronicle reports, Brownlee appeared in court Monday as he faces first-degree murder charges in the killings of 21-year-old Jonathan Rodriguez Hernandez, 52-year-old Juan Carlos Carranza Cruz, and 54-year-old Lawrence Lopez Sr. They were the last three victims in a spree, killed between August 30 and September 27, and more charges are likely to follow.
Brownlee is also suspected of killing 35-year-old Paul Alexander Yaw and 43-year-old Salvador William Debudey Jr. earlier in the summer, and 39-year-old Juan Vasquez Serrano, who was killed in Oakland on April 10, 2021.
Brownlee's arraignment has now been postponed until January. As KCRA notes, this is because there are more charges to come.
San Joaquin County District Attorney Tori Verber-Salazar, in announcing the charges against Brownlee, said the investigation was ongoing and "in no way does our charging determination today end or conclude this investigation. We have more work to do."
The FBI is continuing to investigate as well, operating on the suspicion that Brownlee — who had worked for years as a trucker — may have committed murders elsewhere that have gone unsolved. It is not clear what other jurisdictions they may be looking at, but a news station in Chicago floated the idea that Brownlee could be Chicago's "Duck Walk Killer," who committed two unsolved murders in 2018. So far, police in Stockton and Chicago have said publicly that they have already ruled out this possibility.
Brownlee, who grew up in Oakland, had multiple arrests and some jail time on his record, dating back to his teen years in the 1990s. One of the charges against him pertains to being a felon in possession of a weapon.
A public defender has already tried to argue for a gag order for law enforcement in the case, but a judge in Stockton ruled against this motion, saying that any trial is likely years away, and there was no need for a gag order at this time.