An ex-con accused of fatally shooting a San Jacinto woman must stand trial for murder and other charges, a judge ruled Friday.
Traevon Denae Stewart, 41, may face the death penalty for the April 2017 slaying of 40-year-old Latoya Calhoun.
Following a preliminary hearing at the Riverside Hall of Justice, Riverside County Superior Court Judge O.G. Magno found there was sufficient evidence to warrant a trial on the murder count, as well as two counts of making criminal threats, one count of felony evading and a special circumstance allegation of killing in the course of a robbery.
Magno scheduled a post-preliminary hearing arraignment for Nov. 28 at the Banning Justice Center. Stewart is being held without bail at the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning.
His co-defendant, 64-year-old Michael Wayne Bird of Banning, pleaded guilty last November to being an accessory after the fact and was sentenced to jail and probation.
According to sheriff’s Sgt. Robert Himmelberg, Calhoun was shot multiple times and dumped from a moving vehicle in the 2600 block of Esplanade Avenue, near Kirby Street, in San Jacinto on the morning of April 29, 2017. Paramedics arrived a few minutes later and pronounced the victim dead at the scene.
Detectives developed leads pointing to Stewart as the alleged shooter, and he was arrested in Banning two days later. Bird also was taken into custody at that time.
Other than robbery, an additional motive for the attack was not disclosed. The defendant and victim knew one another.
According to court records, Stewart has prior convictions for assault with a firearm and possession of drugs for sale.
The District Attorney’s Office has not announced if it will seek the death penalty for the defendant, provided he’s convicted. D.A. Mike Hestrin could make that decision any time.