The suspected getaway driver in a string of shootings that left a convenience store owner dead and injured clerks at three other stores in the summer of 2006 is expected to testify next week against his former friend and co-defendant, a defense attorney said Friday.
Laron Tavon Davis, 25, of Ceres is likely to take the stand in Stanislaus County Superior Court during a preliminary hearing resuming Monday to determine whether Edward Deandre Mitchell, 22, of Modesto should stand trial on capital murder charges.
"He's going to tell in detail what happened," defense attorney Frank Carson said.
A special circumstance alleged by prosecutors, murder in the course of a robbery, makes Mitchell, who is accused of being the shooter, eligible for the death penalty. In exchange for his testimony, Davis will get a deal for 13 years in prison, Carson said.
The lead attorney in Mitchell's defense, Lewis Wentz, declined to comment Friday.
When the men were arrested, police described the crimes as "heinous" because an armed bandit had opened fire even after store clerks handed over money.
Mitchell and Davis have been held without bail since June 15, 2006, when they were arrested and charged with murder in the June 7, 2006, slaying of Balbir Boyal, who owned BK Liquors at 150 Riverside Drive in Modesto.
Shortly after their arrest, authorities said they had tied the men to a string of other armed robberies in Modesto. Mitchell and Davis also are charged with:
The attempted murder of Sam Obaid on May 31, 2006, at Sunset Market, 1000 Beverly Drive
The robbery of Gilbert Mata on April 26, 2006, at am-pm minimarket at 2033 Standiford Ave.
The robbery of Willey Martinez Vasquez on April 22, 2006, at Stop 'N Save Market at 1424 Coffee Road
The robbery of Chao Thang Nai on April 20, 2006, at Stop 'N Save Market at 3460 Oakdale Road
Mata and Vasquez were wounded.
Bee staff writer Merrill Balassone can be reached at email@example.com or 578-2337.