4 men accused in deadly mass shooting in Fresno back in court

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The murder case against four men accused of a mass shooting in Fresno two years ago is now one step closer to moving forward.

On Tuesday, the defendants appeared with their attorneys to prepare for a preliminary hearing, which will allow the judge to decide if there is enough evidence for a trial.

"We've been inching along, we finally are going to get to the meat of the case and then move forward from there," says Defense Attorney Michael Aed.

Aed and Peter Jones are calling it a complicated case that requires a lot of coordination.

"It's a very complex case," Jones said. "It's going to take quite a while to conduct a preliminary hearing. We went over everyone's schedules to make sure that everyone's available for certain dates and times."

The four defendants facing homicide charges are Billy Xiong, Porge Kue, Ger Lee and Anthony Montes.

They're accused of opening fire at an East Central Fresno backyard gathering in November 2019, killing four people and injuring six others.

Police say the shooting was gang retaliation for another murder that happened earlier that same day but they do not believe the victims were gang members and were mistakenly targeted.

At the time of the arrests, Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp said the death penalty was not off the table.

"The number of charges, the seriousness of the charges as the district attorney said here today, the death penalty has not been removed from the table here and obviously, it's extremely serious for everyone," Jones said.

"Whenever you have a capital case where the death penalty is potentially being sought, the magnitude is high," Aed said.

Now, the prosecution is expected to call at least 50 witnesses. This case is slated for at least three weeks and all parties are reporting back to court on Wednesday at 10 am.
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