3 More Arrests in Kerman Murder Case

August 5, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Wednesday afternoon Fresno County Sheriff Mims said the DeBartolo's were leading a double life. A life that their closest friends weren't even privy to. But investigators said those who did know what was going on behind closed doors in the couple's home, hatched a plan that at first only involved robbery and not murder. Mims said, "They felt there was cash in the house and the purpose was to steal the cash and marijuana from the DeBartolo's."What Sheriff Mims can't reveal is how the original plot to rob the couple turned so sinister that their throats were slashed. Inside their home drug agents found 48 pot plants and growing equipment. Mims went on to say, "It appears as if they led a life not known by their friends, a secret life."

Now, six people are in jail charged with crimes that if convicted of could send them to death row. Deputies arrested 33 year old Christopher Butler on Monday, 18 year old Andrew Jones on Tuesday and Wednesday morning they picked up 28 year old Neko Wilson. Investigators said Butler and Jones were in the getaway car and arrested the day of the murders but were released 2 days later.

As for Wilson, authorities said he wasn't in the car, did not go in the DeBartolo's house, and wasn't even in Kerman during the time of the murders. But they said he was intimately involved. "So we're gonna hold off on that for now on what his involvement was even though he may not have been at the scene how he can be charged with that."

Last week sources confirmed that the DeBartolo's 32 year old son Eric is a person of interest but Wednesday Sheriff Mims said he is not their main focus. "We don't believe his involvement is pertinent to our homicide investigation."

Kerman Police are handling the drug investigation but they still aren't talking about the case at all. Two of the new suspects will be arraigned Thursday morning. Bail for 5 of them is more than one million dollars each except for Leroy Johnson; his bail is set at $3.7 million dollars.

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