Sentencing has been rescheduled to Friday at the Banning Justice Center for two La Quinta residents convicted of the shooting death of a 20-year-old man nearly five years ago during a botched drug deal.

Jesse Keith Cottom, 22, and Kenneth Michael Wilson, 25, could face life in prison without parole for the Jan. 30, 2015, murder of Ryan Sniffin of Joshua Tree in the Cove neighborhood of La Quinta.

They were tried at the Larson Justice Center in Indio, where a jury deliberated about six hours on Jan. 15 before finding the pair guilty of first-degree murder and attempted robbery, along with finding true multiple sentence-enhancing allegations, including discharging a firearm causing great bodily injury.

The Riverside County District Attorney’s Office did not seek the death penalty in the case.

Cottom was 17 years old when he shot Sniffin, who was trying to buy an ounce of cocaine from him, and Wilson provided his co-defendant with the gun and was present when the shooting occurred, Deputy District Attorney Anne-Marie Lofthouse told jurors.

Cottom and Wilson showed up for the drug transaction with a “carefully crafted plan” and “with a clear motive: money,” she said.

According to the prosecution, the victim asked a cousin, Dylan Sniffin, to arrange the purchase of an ounce of cocaine and was put in contact with Cottom, whom the cousin had met in juvenile hall.

Lofthouse said Cottom, Wilson and another man, Miguel Ramirez, devised a scheme to fill two sandwich bags with baking soda in an attempt to pass the substance off as cocaine.

About 6:30 p.m. on the night of shooting, Sniffin, his cousin and another man drove to the 51800 block of Avenida Ramirez to meet Cottom, Lofthouse said, and a short time later, Cottom, Wilson and Ramirez rode up to the area on bicycles.

Dylan Sniffin testified that Cottom approached and handed his cousin two bags containing an unspecified amount of what he claimed was cocaine, but Ryan Sniffin handed the bags back, saying he wanted “better stuff.”

Dylan Sniffin said Cottom rode away, but quickly returned on foot and tried to rob his cousin, with Cottom pointing a gun at the victim’s head. He said a shot rang out moments later, striking his cousin in the neck.

Cottom ran from the scene without any cash, according to the prosecution. Sniffin died about 11 that night at Desert Regional Medical Center.

The murder weapon, a .38-caliber revolver, was never found.

Cottom’s attorney, Greg Johnson, told jurors the prosecution would call drug users and convicted criminals to testify against his client, including people who got reduced sentences in other cases.

Wilson’s attorney, John Patrick Dolan, claimed that his client wasn’t present when the victim was shot, a claim that prosecution did not refute.

Dylan Sniffin testified that he only saw Cottom prior to and during the shooting, but said he saw Wilson and another man drive by in a red car, gawking at the scene, afterward.

A third defendant in the case, Wayne David Wilson — the brother of Kenneth Wilson — pleaded guilty in October to being an accessory to the killing after the fact.

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