Woman's boyfriend shot to death in front of her during home invasion

MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) -- UPDATE: At least one person, 28-year-old James Martin, has been arrested in connection to this incident.

Martin led police on a pursuit through the Bay Area. He was finally caught by Oakland Police and was brought back to Merced, where he was booked for homicide.


A man was shot dead during a home invasion in Merced on Friday.

Police say the 34-year-old victim, was shot by the suspects when he opened the front door.

His girlfriend, Yolanda Ames, says his name is Lajawn Cokley.

Ames says the suspects then entered the home, pointed a gun at her, went on to steal items and then escaped in a car.

"All I heard was him say was no, no, no. They started boom, boom, boom, boom, boom," she recalled to Action News.

Police say the call came in a little after midnight at home at Canal Street and Touculay Court.

"We don't know if it was a drug deal gone bad, a gun deal gone bad, a car deal gone bad, it could've been a number of things," said Merced Police Dept Lt. Jay Struble.

Ames was inside the house at the time of the shooting.

She says she had just gotten home, and was getting ready for bed when Cokley answered a knock on the door.

She says she heard a scuffle, then gunfire.

"They came to my room, and pulled the guns out on me and said they were going to kill me saying, 'Where's the money?', 'Where's the jewelry?'."

That's when she says her 21-year-old daughter saved her life.

"My daughter came in there saying, 'Don't kill my momma, don't kill my momma. The safe is there'."

Daughter Imani Stoughtenborough spoke about the terrible moments.

"I had to go help my mom because they had a gun to her head. You gonna kill her you're gonna have to kill me too. I'm not going to have my mom go out by herself," she said.
Police say the victim was initially standing and speaking when they arrived, but then collapsed.

Crews tried to perform life-saving measures, but he died at the scene.

Investigators spent hours at the scene, collecting evidence and looking inside homes and cars for any indication of a motive.

Police won't confirm Cokley was the victim, but family members say he was the one killed.

Ames described the man she was in a relationship with for 11 years as a good caregiver and a caring member of the community.

Merced police ask that anyone with information to call the police department.

You can stay anonymous.
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