A white man and a woman were arraigned Friday on murder charges with special circumstances, alleging that the fatal shooting and stabbing of 30-year-old Justin Peoples in Tracy last week at a gas station was a hate crime, the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office said.
In the killing of Justin Peoples, who is Black, co-defendants Christina Lyn Garner, 42, of Manteca, and Jeremy Wayne Jones, 49, of Stockton, were charged with murder in connection to a hate crime. A third defendant, Christopher Dimenco, 52, was arraigned on accessory charges.
District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar said in a statement:
There is no place for hate in our community. No one should be victimized because of their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or religion. … 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.”
Jones said on his Facebook page that he attended Livermore High School and listed Livermore as his hometown. On a second Facebook page he recently posted a video saying that the new tattoo circling his neck was to “show his love” for his girlfriend Christina.
Many of Jones’ tattoos are associated with white supremacist groups.
Shortly after 9 p.m. March 15, the Tracy Police Department responded to a report of man suffering from gunshot wounds at the Chevron gas station on North Tracy Boulevard.
Officers found Peoples lying on the floor with a gunshot wound to his upper body and multiple stab wounds, police said.
He was taken to San Joaquin General Hospital where he died two hours later.
Police said there was a confrontation before Peoples was shot, and Salazar said the victim did not know his assailants. Garner and Jones were arrested in the 1500 block of De Ovan Avenue the following day at 9:15 a.m. after authorities served search and arrest warrants at the residence.
Peoples was a graduate of Edison High School, San Joaquin Delta College and had served in the military.
Peoples’ aunt, Berniece Bass, said after the arraignment:
It doesn’t make a difference what color you are. … 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 defendants are set to appear in the San Joaquin County Superior Court on April 4 for further arraignment and have been remanded to custody.