robert presley detention center
Robert Presley Detention Center - Photo courtesy of

A gang member accused of gunning down a 32-year-old man at a Riverside park was charged Wednesday with first-degree murder and other offenses.

Arthur Lawrence Akins, 50, of Riverside was arrested Saturday following a 17-month-long Riverside Police Department investigation into the death of Cedric Omar Dempsey, also of Riverside.

Along with murder, Akins is charged with a special circumstance allegation of killing for the benefit of a criminal street gang, as well as sentence-enhancing gun and great bodily injury allegations.

He’s being held without bail at the Robert Presley Jail and was slated to make his initial court appearance Wednesday afternoon at the Riverside Hall of Justice.

According to Riverside police spokesman Officer Ryan Railsback, Dempsey was hanging out in Bordwell Park, near the intersection of MLK Boulevard and Ottawa Avenue, in the early morning hours of Dec. 22, 2020, when he was shot once in the head.

He died at the scene, and detectives spent the ensuing months collecting evidence that ultimately pointed to Akins as the alleged assailant, Railsback said.

Other than the shooting allegedly being gang-related, no other details were disclosed regarding a possible motive.

Officials said Akins is also suspected — but not charged — of conspiring with 32-year-old Darnell Frederick Tate of Moreno Valley in the slaying of 43-year-old Kevin Henderson of Moreno Valley prior to the Dempsey attack, for which Tate is not charged.

Tate pleaded not guilty during an arraignment Tuesday to first-degree murder, a special circumstance allegation of killing to further the interests of a gang, as well as gun and great bodily injury allegations.

According to Riverside County Sheriff’s Sgt. Richard Carroll, on the night of June 7, 2020, Henderson was at a residence in the 24000 block of Myers Avenue, near Fir Street, in Moreno Valley when he was fatally shot.

Detectives were unable to develop leads until recently, culminating in charges against Tate.

Carroll said Akins was implicated in the shooting about the same time that Riverside police investigators obtained a warrant for his arrest in connection with the Dempsey killing.

Prosecutors are continuing to examine evidence from the sheriff’s investigation.

Akins has no documented prior felony convictions in Riverside County.

Tate, who is being held without bail at the downtown Riverside jail, is scheduled for a felony settlement conference on Aug. 2 at the Riverside Hall of Justice. Court records show that he has a prior conviction for felony evading.

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