Broad-daylight murders of Justin O'Donnell, Deon Rudd most senseless prosecutor's seen?
On May 25, 2012, four people were gunned down in broad daylight on Bruce Randolph Avenue -- and two of them, Justin O'Donnell (seen here) and Deon Rudd, died of their injuries. Now, two men -- Marquise Davis and Denzel Richardson -- have pleaded guilty in relation to this tragedy. But what led to it? According to the Denver District Attorney's Office, the shooting was an attempt at gang retribution for an incident in which neither O'Donnell nor Rudd took part, leading a prosecutor to deem the killings among the most senseless he's seen in his career. Details below.
At about 2 p.m. on the 25th, as we've reported, members of the DPD arrived at the 3300 block of Bruce Randolph Avenue to find that four men had been shot.
The scene of the crime.
Two -- O'Donnell, 21, and Rudd, 30 -- were pronounced dead at the scene, while the other pair -- Victor Casillas and William Middleton -- were rushed to a local hospital for treatment; they'd each been hit in the leg. Meanwhile, officers searched for a pair of armed suspects who reportedly approached the quartet, drew weapons and fired multiple rounds before fleeing on foot.
In the aftermath of the DPD's arrival, O'Donnell's body was left in clear sight of approximately one-hundred onlookers, including his mother. The outcry over this action was considerable, but Detective John White, a police spokesman, justified the action, saying that investigators needed an undisturbed crime scene in order to do their work, and pointing out that vehicles were rearranged in an effort to at least partially obstruct views.
Victim Deon Rudd.
Within days, Davis and Richardson were taken into custody at separate Aurora residences -- and the now-unsealed arrest affidavit for Davis, on view below in its entirety, reveals what led to their arrest.
According to the document, a witness told investigators that he drove Davis, also known as Swift, and Richard, aka G Rue, to the area of Bruce Randolph and York, at which point they dismounted and headed northbound on Gaylord Street. Moments later, the witness heard gunshots and was ready to drive off when the pair came running toward the vehicle, which spirited them away. However, images of men fitting their description was caught by video surveillance at Rocky Mountain Wellness Center. Both of them could be seen carrying hand guns.
Earlier this month, Davis pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder and one count of retaliation against a witness, while Richardson did likewise in relation to a pair of second-degree-murder charges. But why did they open fire on O'Donnell, Rudd, Casillas and Middleton in the first place?
Another photo of Justin O'Donnell.
We put that question to Denver District Attorney's Office spokeswoman Lynn Kimbrough, who says, "It was a gang-rivalry situation. The defendants were associated with the Bloods and had been feuding with some Crips members" after an incident in which Davis "had been run down by a car a couple of days earlier."
Davis and Richardson went out in search of the Crips who'd been responsible for the incident, but Kimbrough says, "they couldn't find them. And then they happened upon our victims, perceived them to be Crips and began shooting at them."
This was an act of anger by association, Kimbrough stresses. The four people shot "had no association with what happened a few days earlier, and at least one of the victims who died had no association with gangs at all."
In the end, Davis was charged with retaliation because, Kimbrough notes, "It was alleged he specifically shot and killed Justin O'Donnell" over the run-down. Hence, he'll receive slightly more time than Richardson: Davis will be sentenced to 64 years in prison on September 26, while Richardson is expected to get sixty years the following day.
These stints won't bring back O'Donnell or Rudd, of course. Kimbrough quotes the prosecutor in the case as saying "this may have been the most senseless homicide he's ever seen -- and he's been prosecuting gang cases for quite a while."
Look below to see booking photos of Davis and Richardson, followed by the arrest affidavit, an interactive graphic of the area near where the shooting took place (if you have problems seeing the image, click "View Larger Map") plus two 9News reports -- one from the day of the shooting, the other noting the arrests of Davis and Richardson.
View Larger Map
More from our Mile High Murder archive: "Ten unsolved Denver murders: Read personal stories of the victims."
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