Fresno murder suspect Jerel Stanfield appears in court

FRESNO, Calif.

Jerel Stanfield, 25, was arrested in March following an officer involved shooting in Southwest Fresno.

Once considered a threat to police and public safety, Jerel Stanfield sat quietly in a wheelchair, half-paralized, as Fresno Police detectives described what led up to the officer-involved shooting that injured him on Easter Sunday.

"I'm asking her if she witnessed, Jerel Stanfield commit this murder. She looks into my eyes and says detective I'm telling you, he killed Will," said Andre Benson, Fresno Police detective, "She was emotional, crying and indicated to me that Jerel Stanfield was in fact the one that was responsible for Mr. Simpson's death."

Benson said it all started around 3 a.m. at an apartment complex near Ashlan and Blackstone. That's where, he said, William Simpson, his pregnant girlfriend, and her three year old son showed up to stay overnight. When they couldn't get in, he said, the mother and child fell asleep in the car and were later awakened by the sound of gunshots.

"She immediately reached for her small child in the back seat, upon doing so she then directed her attention to the front of the vehicle where she observed the subject positioned near the front driver's side bumper area of the vehicle," said Benson.

That's where she told detectives Simpson was shot and killed -- and after being questioned several times, reported Jerel Stanfield was standing before driving off in an SUV.

"At that time she was too afraid to tell me she had actually witnessed him shoot Mr. Simpson," said Benson, "She had been receiving threats, been receiving calls."

Later, another officer testified that Stanfield was a suspect in another shooting five days earlier, and one of the two men injured was eventually able to pick him out of a police line-up.

" He heard them say something to him and before he could roll down his window, shots were fired and he was struck," said Corey Taylor, Fresno Police.

Officers said they eventually caught up with Stanfield at his home on Easter Sunday. That's where they said he was armed and making threatening movements. After firing at him, they discovered a loaded gun, with the same ammunition discovered at the murder scene.

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