Authorities in California have brought hate crime and murder charges against a White couple accused of fatally shooting and stabbing a Black army veteran. According to CBS San Francisco, the suspects, identified as 42-year-old Christina Lyn Garner and Jeremy Wayne Jones, 49, were on Friday arraigned in court for allegedly killing Justin Peoples.
A third suspect, Christopher Dimenco, is facing accessory charges. Authorities classified the killing as a hate crime. A large number of Jones’ tattoos are reportedly linked to White supremacist groups.
“There is no place for hate in our community. No one should be victimized because of their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or religion,” San Joaquin County District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar said in a statement. “These types of crimes are reprehensible and my administration will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law to hold those who perpetuate hate accountable.”
The Tracy police department said the March 15 incident occurred at a gas station on North Tracy Boulevard. Officers who responded to a call about an injured man found Peoples suffering from a gunshot wound and several stab wounds. He was lying on the floor when the officers arrived.
Peoples, who was a U.S. Navy veteran, was subsequently transported to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries after two hours. Police said Peoples was killed during an altercation. Salazar also added the deceased Black man did not know the suspects who killed him, CBS San Francisco reported.
Authorities arrested Garner and Jones the day after the fatal confrontation. “He was just a remarkable young man,” Justin’s father, Maurice Peoples, said after the suspects were arraigned.
“It doesn’t make a difference what color you are,” Justin’s aunt, Berniece Bass, added. “Some are black, some are brown, some are light skinned … we have all colors but we know the human race is the number one color we need to be fighting for.”
The three suspects remain in custody. Their next arraignment has been scheduled for April 4.