More charges were filed Tuesday in the case against Wesley Brownlee, the 43-year-old Stockton man accused in a string of killings in both Oakland and Stockton, and among them is one new name that had previously not been released.
Brownlee was arrested in mid-October, in the early morning hours of a Saturday, when he appeared to be out on the hunt for a new victim, armed with a gun that police say had been linked to all the murders. The pattern of the serial killings to date had been random late-night shootings, primarily within a few miles of where Brownlee was living in Stockton, several of them targeting homeless men and one woman.
Five of the fatal shootings took place this past summer in Stockton, but two others that we knew of had occurred in April 2021 — one, the April 10th fatal shooting of 39-year-old Juan Vasquez Serrano, a homeless man in Oakland; and the other, a non-fatal shooting that left his only known surviving victim, Natasha LaTour, a 42-year-old homeless woman in Stockton.
Now we are learning that the same night he allegedly shot LaTour, he had allegedly been in Oakland a couple hours earlier, and Brownlee has now been charged with the murder of 39-year-old Mervin Harmon.
Harmon appears to be the victim described in this report from the East Bay Times — but the charging documents filed Tuesday do not give us any details of his murder. Per the news report, a 39-year-old man was fatally shot around 1:17 a.m. on April 16, 2021 in a driveway in Oakland's Melrose District, on the 6200 block of Bromley Avenue. The age, date, and timing of the murder match the charge against Brownlee, which involves Harmon, and which occurred in Alameda County on April 16.
That would mean that after shooting Harmon, Brownlee would have traveled to Stockton, where LaTour was shot while inside her tent two hours later, around 3:20 a.m. on April 16.
Both shootings occurred six days after the killing of Vasquez Serrano, and no other murders have been tied to Brownlee between April 2021 and July 2022.
As ABC 10 reports, Brownlee was further charged with three other murders on Tuesday, bringing the total number of murder charges against him to six. He was also charged with the July 8, 2022 shooting death of 35-year-old Paul Yaw in Stockton; the August 11, 2022 murder of 43-year-old Salvador Debudey Jr. in Stockton; and the earlier murder of Vasquez Serrano. The San Joaquin DA's office had previously charged Brownlee with the murders of 52-year-old Juan Carlos Carranza Cruz, 21-year-old Jonathan Rodriguez Hernandez, and 54-year-old Lawrence Lopez Sr.
And he has been charged with the attempted murder of Ms. LaTour, and all of the charges come with enhancements for being a felon in possession of a firearm, and for committing multiple murders.
"The San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office continues to collaborate with our local law enforcement agencies to ensure justice for these victims,” said District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar in a statement. "We would like to thank the community for their support and law enforcement for their diligent investigation and apprehension of the suspect."
It remains to be seen if more unsolved killings may get linked to Brownlee before he ultimately goes to trial.
The apparently linked serial killings were first revealed to the public by Stockton police in early October, and it was through a tip from the public that they began surveiling Brownlee and made the arrest on October 15. Stockton Police Chief Stanley McFadden said that officers observed Brownlee, in the late-night hours of October 14/15, "stopping, looking around and moving again" through dark areas and parks in Stockton. And McFadden asserted, "He was on a mission to kill. He was out hunting."
Those, among other statements, have been called "inflammatory" by Brownlee's public defender, who will face an uphill battle defending him as these charges continue to mount.
Previously: Stockton Serial Killer Suspect Appears In Court, Will Remain Jailed Without Bail