The California Supreme Court has upheld the conviction and death sentence of one of two men convicted of the bloody execution-style murders of four people during a 1998 robbery at Wheels ‘N Stuff car wash in Compton.
In a ruling Monday, the state’s highest court rejected the defense’s contention that there were errors in Byron Wilson’s trial in Los Angeles Superior Court.
Wilson was convicted along with co-defendant Aswad Pops of murder, robbery and commercial burglary in connection with the Jan. 25, 1998, execution-style shooting deaths of the car wash’s co-owner Charles Hurd, 33, of Corona, and Shawn Potter, 20, Michael Hoard, 41, and Jessie Dunn, 36, all of Compton.
Pops, who was also sentenced to death, was found dead in his single-occupancy cell at San Quentin State Prison in August 2019. Officials said then that his death was being investigated as a suicide.
Jurors found true the special circumstance allegations of multiple murders, murder during the commission of a robbery and murder during the commission of a burglary, along with allegations that Wilson was armed with and personally and intentionally discharged a firearm causing great bodily injury involving three of the murders at the Wheels ‘N Stuff car wash on Sportsman Drive.
Hurd and others dealt marijuana from the car wash and the rent for the facility was paid from marijuana proceeds, according to the ruling penned by Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuellar.
Wilson and Pops “rummaged through the car wash before shooting and killing four of the men inside,” and police determined that the victims’ pockets had been searched and saw empty boxes scattered across the floor, according to the ruling.
“Wilson posits a version of events in which he and Pops went to the car wash to buy marijuana and an unexpected confrontation inside the building occurred, culminating in the shooting and deaths of four individuals. That version is unsupported,” Cuellar wrote on behalf of the panel. “What the evidence demonstrated is that each of the murders occurred during a burglary or robbery; indeed Wilson was convicted of both offenses.”
The ruling noted that the two men brought weapons to the car wash, watched and waited, eventually entered, stole marijuana and cash and shot four people, with such evidence demonstrating “deliberation and premeditation.”
Wilson — who had earlier pleaded guilty to a robbery in which he drove a getaway car while his accomplice robbed a 53-year-old woman of cash from her Aid to Families with Dependent Children check by threatening to kill her companion — was arrested after being found lying on his couch with a shotgun.
Investigators found a three-ring binder in Wilson’s home that contained a single newspaper clipping about the killings, the panel noted.
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