Two brothers accused of robbing and killing a 25-year-old man during a drug deal-gone-bad in Corona pleaded not guilty today to murder and other charges.
Jhavionn Rayshawn Peery, 19, and Joseph Ed Peery, 22, could each face life in prison without parole -- or the death penalty, should prosecutors elect to seek it -- if convicted of the June 5 slaying of Brian McKnight of Riverside.
The brothers are each charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy, along with a special circumstance allegation of killing in the course of a robbery. They appeared with their attorneys today before Riverside County Superior Court Judge Helios Hernandez, who scheduled a felony settlement conference in the case for Oct. 10.
Meantime, Joseph Peery remains held without bail, while Jhavionn Peery is being held in lieu of $1 million bail -- both at the Robert Presley Jail in Riverside. A third defendant, a 16-year-old boy whose identity has not been released, is being held at Riverside Juvenile Hall.
According to Corona police, the fatal attack happened in the middle of the afternoon near the intersection of Griffin Way and McKinley Street, just south of the Riverside (91) Freeway.
Sgt. Kim Velasco said the three defendants met up with McKnight "for an alleged illegal drug transaction."
"During this time, the victim was robbed and shot twice," Velasco said.
She said officers arrived moments later and discovered McKnight unconscious and witnesses performing CPR on him. The victim was rushed to Riverside Community Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The defendants fled but were spotted by a Corona police officer on the westbound 91.
Velasco said the officer attempted to stop the SUV, but the driver sped away, heading north onto the Corona (71) Expressway. The driver eventually stopped near Euclid Avenue in Chino, and all three occupants surrendered without incident, according to Velasco, who said a handgun was found inside the vehicle. --City News Service