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Two of three gang members accused of gunning down a 26-year-old Moreno Valley man and trying to kill two of his friends in a retaliation attack must stand trial on first-degree murder and other charges, a judge ruled Friday.

Daron Anthony Hooks, 21, and Davonte Christopher Rowe, 25, both of Riverside, are accused with 31-year-old Maurice Landon Williamson of fatally shooting Jamon Hampton of Moreno Valley in 2019.

Following a preliminary hearing at the Riverside Hall of Justice, Riverside County Superior Court Judge Matthew Perantoni found there was sufficient evidence to warrant a trial on the murder count, as well as attempted murder and special circumstance allegations of lying in wait and killing for the benefit of a criminal street gang, with sentence-enhancing gun and great bodily injury allegations.

Williamson is in custody in another jurisdiction and is expected to be the subject of a separate preliminary hearing at a later date.

The judge scheduled a post-preliminary hearing arraignment for Hooks and Rowe on Nov. 28.

Hooks is being held without bail at the Robert Presley Jail in Riverside, and Rowe is being held on $1 million bail at the Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta.

According to prosecutors, the defendants allegedly targeted Hampton and his two friends — identified only as a Moreno Valley man and a teenage boy — because they were rivals.

The defendants were looking for blood in retaliation for a deadly attack on two Crips associates at a gas station days earlier, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

Sheriff’s Sgt. Ben Ramirez said that on the night of Aug. 31, 2019, the trio allegedly confronted the victims outside an apartment complex at 12080 Pigeon Pass Road in Moreno Valley. During the encounter, the defendants allegedly pulled handguns and opened fire, killing Hampton on the spot and wounding the juvenile, Ramirez said. The other victim escaped injury.

Patrol deputies converged on the location within a few minutes, but the trio had fled, the sergeant said.

The juvenile was taken to Riverside University Medical Center in Moreno Valley, where he underwent surgery and ultimately recovered.

Over the next two years, homicide detectives developed leads that pointed to Hooks, Rowe and Williamson as the alleged perpetrators, according to the prosecution.

Hooks and Rowe were already in custody for unrelated offenses when investigators formally arrested them for the alleged slaying of Hampton in August 2021.

Court records show Rowe has a prior conviction for assault resulting in great bodily injury, and Williamson has prior convictions for assault with a firearm and burglary. Hooks has no documented prior felony convictions in Riverside County.

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