A young man accused with a cohort of gunning down a 66-year-old shopper at the Desert Hills Premium Outlets in Cabazon during a holdup made his initial court appearance Tuesday in Banning.
Elijah Ray Burt, 19, of Victorville was extradited last week with his twin brother, Emanuel Rick Burt, to Riverside County from Las Vegas, where the pair had been taken into custody based on a county arrest warrant stemming from the slaying of Michael Moser of Palm Springs.
Elijah Burt appeared before Superior Court Judge Mark Singerton, who appointed him an attorney and scheduled his arraignment for June 3 at the Banning Justice Center.
The defendant and his brother are both being held without bail at the Robert Presley Jail in Riverside.
Elijah Burt is charged with first-degree murder, a special circumstance allegation of killing during a robbery, as well as sentence-enhancing gun and great bodily injury allegations. Emanuel Burt is charged only with robbery. He’s expected to make a court appearance before the end of the week.
Their co-defendant, 18-year-old Reginald Charles Trice of Victorville, was arrested in April and pleaded not guilty during an arraignment last week on charges of murder, illegal possession of a firearm, a special circumstance allegation of killing in the course of a robbery, and sentence-enhancing gun and great bodily injury allegations.
Trice is being held without bail at the Benoit Detention Center in Indio and is scheduled to appear for a felony settlement conference on June 24 at the Banning Justice Center.
Riverside County sheriff’s Sgt. Ben Ramirez alleged that Trice confronted Moser shortly before 7 p.m. on March 24 in the 48600 block of Seminole Drive, though the specific location within the mall wasn’t disclosed.
Ramirez said Moser was shot at least once, prompting calls to 911, after which deputies and paramedics converged on the location. Life-saving measures were tried, but the victim was pronounced dead at the scene.
It was unclear why Moser was targeted, and investigators did not disclose whether he put up a struggle during the robbery.
There was no sign of the defendants when deputies reached the mall. However, Ramirez said over the ensuing weeks, detectives developed leads pointing to Trice as one of the alleged assailants. A warrant was obtained and served at his residence in the 15500 block of Morada Road on April 21, according to the sheriff’s spokesman.
He was taken into custody without incident.
The brothers were identified and named in the criminal complaint after Trice’s arrest.
None of the defendants have documented prior felony convictions in Riverside County.