Latest in the Stockton Murder Mystery


Arianna Perez, Staff writer

After a long investigation and living in fear, Stockton police are proud to announce that they have arrested a 43-year-old serial killer by the name of Wesley Brownlee. He was linked to the six murders and one wounding of a homeless woman. Brownlee was arrested on October, 15th at around 2 AM while so-called “hunting”. Brownlee was held in court on Tuesday, October, 18. He was charged with three murders. The night of his arrest he was found with a firearm in his waistband. Later on, the firearm was confirmed as the gun used to kill the innocent victims.

Stockton police have had surveillance following the suspect. He was caught using the description from one of the survivors. She told them that she saw a man about 6ft tall, wearing dark clothing and a dark face mask. This description helped police solve the mystery and eventually led them to Wesley Brownlee. “We are sure we stopped another killing” stated Police Chief Stanley McFadden. He continued to explain, “we watched his patterns, and determined early, he was on a mission to kill.” A flood of tips came into police using a serial killer hotline.

Early in April 2021, Oakland, California reported the death of a 40-year-old man and the wounding of a 46-year-old homeless woman. One year later, at the beginning of July in Stockton, California, police reported the death of 35-year-old Paul Yaw. This happened at around 12:30 AM at a park near Kermit Lane. After the death of Paul Yaw, police reported four more deaths including 43-year-old Salvador Debudey Jr. and 21-year-old Johnathan Hernandez Rodriguez.  In September, the deaths of 52-year-old Juan Cruz and 54-year-old Lawrence Lopez Sr. were reported.

At best, the only thing they all have in common is being a person of color or without a roof over their head. These victims were all alone and were killed at night or extremely early in the morning. Paul Yaw was the only white victim of the killer. The police and District Attorney have said there is no clear motive on why the killer chose these specific victims. The string of connections between the victims is very thin. Majority were Hispanic, which left the Hispanic community frightened for their dear families. California State University criminology professor Robert Shung explained that the victims were vulnerable and the killer was going out and killing whomever he could find.

The murders left a lot of families in pain as well as the entire community. “We’re going to stay tenacious, we don’t know how many cases there are,” McFadden said. Police are holding Brownlee in jail without bail. They’re still looking to hold him accountable for two other murders committed in the same time frame as the rest. They’re also looking to hold him accountable for the attempted murder of 46-year-old Natasha LaTour. Brownlee is currently charged with three murders as well as possession of a firearm and ammunition. Brownlee’s next court date is November 14, 2022.