2 accused of 2016 'ninja' murders found guilty
A jury has returned a verdict in the trial of two suspects in the 2016 Christmas Eve "ninja" murders.
After three weeks of trial and just hours of deliberation, 12 jurors found Lamarkus Mann and Savon Wiley, both 25, guilty on multiple counts. The verdict includes a first-degree murder conviction for Mann, and a second-degree murder conviction for Wiley. Both are also convicted of first-degree robbery.
On Dec. 24, 2016, a 5-year-old boy survived a shooting in his Mountain View home. He told police "ninjas" killed his family.
The apparent robbery-gone-wrong left 38-year-old Christopher Brooks and his 32-year-old wife Danielle Brooks dead.
During the trial, it was revealed that Christopher's body was riddled with bullet holes, from his face to his legs — 11 gunshot wounds in total. Danielle was shot three times.
Investigators determined there were four so-called ninjas and prosecutors spent the last few weeks in trial, trying to prove Mann and Wiley are two of them. They believe Mann is one of three men who went into the home, and argued Wiley knew Christopher likely had money and marijuana in his apartment and set up the robbery.
"Although no one intended for anyone to die when they went in, they meant business," said Assistant District Attorney Andrew Grannik during closing arguments Wednesday. "The guns were loaded. They were ready to kill if necessary, and when it became necessary, that's what they did."
Mann and Wiley's defense attorneys argued detectives ignored evidence that might poke holes in their theory about what happened, and failed to provide the state with a full and fair investigation.
After the reading of the verdict, the judge polled the jury. Each member confirmed their agreement in the result the group reached.
Police say a group of men went to the Brooks’ home in order to steal drugs and money from them. Court documents allege they broke into the home wearing T-shirts over their faces.
During the robbery, detectives say Mann shot Danielle and then Christopher was shot after a struggle over the gun. Danielle died inside the home. Christopher made it outside, but later died.
The other men charged in the case are Deanthony Malik Harris and Jaylyn Franklin, who are both 22. Franklin pleaded guilty to murder for his role in the shootings earlier this year. He is serving an 80-year sentence. Harris' case has not yet been resolved.
Anchorage police say Christmas Eve was the deadliest day of 2016, with three homicides in less than 24 hours.
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