By Joel Warner
By Michael Roberts
By Alan Prendergast
By Michael Roberts
By Michael Roberts
By Amber Taufen
By Patricia Calhoun
By William Breathes
Bobby Yarbrough, Sean Cox says, first appeared at Herasingh's party on the evening of Sunday, July 3. Yarbrough had just arrived in Denver from Los Angeles and was living in an apartment around the corner from Herasingh with one of his friends, twenty-year-old Dubois Jones.
Yarbrough and Jones had adopted the street names "Jesse" and "E," but they were known to the I.G.s simply as "the L.A. niggers," said Sarah Osness, a guest at the party who testified against Sean Cox last year at his preliminary hearing. Osness, who was dating Anthony Garcia at the time, had been introduced to the I.G.s by Cox, with whom she'd worked at a Denver-area Taco Bell. She also hung out a lot at the Burger King on Evans and Broadway, where, she testified, she'd gotten to know other members of the gang.
Yarbrough had been selling cocaine out of his apartment since his arrival in Denver a few weeks before, according to several witnesses in the case. Indeed, Herasingh told police after the shooting that Yarbrough was a member of a Los Angeles chapter of the Crips. Records show that Yarbrough had recently been arrested in Denver for possession of marijuana.
Sean Cox says he didn't know Jones and Yarbrough very well. He'd first encountered them around Herasingh's apartment a few weeks before the party, he says, and they were on reasonably friendly terms then. "I got along with them and everything," Cox says. "I conversed with them. But we never had, like, a buddy situation. They were just associates."
Cox had been the first one up that Sunday morning, rising at 10 a.m., grabbing his first beer of the day from the refrigerator and then getting everybody else out of bed. "I like to do things," he says. "I don't like to have everybody sleeping and being in one spot for too long." Cox says he took Herasingh back to his place in Englewood for a dip in his apartment complex swimming pool for part of the afternoon. On the way back to Herasingh's place, Cox says, they stopped at the home of a "bootlegger," a man who would sell them alcohol on a Sunday. At the bootlegger's they stocked up on liquor--forty-ounce bottles of beer, Mad Dog, Olde English, Irish Rose--and returned to Herasingh's place to continue the party.
As the day wore on, the number of people at 189 South Cherokee grew to more than a dozen, according to police and court records. Cox, Herasingh, Anthony Garcia, Paul Martinez and Ervin Schwegmann were there, as was Herasingh's brother Keith. Herasingh's girlfriend Virginia showed up with her two-year-old son. Another partygoer named Angelica also arrived with a baby in tow. One of Cox's girlfriends, Tonia Young, drove herself to the party. Sarah Osness, Anthony's girlfriend, was dropped off by her mother sometime after midnight.
Yarbrough and Jones showed up, too, and partied the night away with the others. Members of the group set off fireworks, smoked marijuana and drank so much that another run to the bootlegger's became necessary. At one point, according to several witnesses, Herasingh came out of the house and fired a Mac-11 semiautomatic pistol into the air in celebration of Independence Day.
Exactly who owned the gun isn't clear. But it wasn't the only one in the house, according to police and court records. Also inside were a silver .44 Magnum with a brown handle and a large SKS assault rifle. Cox says the I.G.s kept the guns around for "protection."
Dubois Jones later told police that he, Yarbrough and the I.G.s "basically kicked outside. We just was all out there having a nice time." Things turned ugly, however, after Ulysses McCullough arrived. McCullough, who worked as a clerk at the nearby Kmart at Broadway and Alameda Avenue, knew Yarbrough, though today he says he's not sure how or why he ended up at the party. His only memory is of dealing with Lion King paraphernalia at the store earlier in the day--and then emerging from a coma at the hospital a month later.
People who were at the party, however, say McCullough owed Yarbrough $15 or $20 for drugs he had purchased sometime earlier. Yarbrough and a group of the others jumped McCullough in the street outside the apartment, pounding him with their fists and feet.
Accounts of who took part in the beating differ with the teller. Dubois Jones says it was Yarbrough, Cox and a number of the others. Cox claims it was Yarbrough and Jones. "He [Yarbrough] was like, `Where's my money at?'" Cox says. "I heard that. And they just started beating. Then he fell, and they started kicking him and just socking him [with] their hands and feet."
Police found McCullough a few blocks from the apartment, where he'd been dragged and abandoned by his attackers. He was unconscious, and blood was oozing from his nose and mouth. "My mom told me my head looked like a basketball when she came to see me," McCullough says.
The beating appears to have damaged McCullough's brain. "I get headaches, I get dizzy a little bit, and I get real tired trying to walk on my feet," he says. "I can't really concentrate. I forget a lot of things. When they tell me something, they have to repeat it.