Homicide and hate crimes charges have been filed in the murder of a Black Navy veteran

Two suspects have been charged with murder and hate crimes in the killing of a Black Navy veteran and a young pastor at a California gas station last week, authorities said Friday.

Prosecutors in San Joaquin County, south of Sacramento, charge Jeremy Wayne Jones, 49, and Christina Lynn Garner, 42, with first degree murder on March 15 in the murder of Justin Peoples, 30, according to a criminal complaint.

The charges carry a “special circumstance,” alleging that Jones and Garner targeted peoples because of their race, sexual orientation, ethnicity or religion, making them eligible for life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Justin Peoples with his younger sister.
Justin Peoples with his younger sister.Courtesy Morris Peoples

at Press release about the accident, the Prosecutor’s Office provided images of swastika tattoos and the words “white power”. It was not clear which suspects they belonged to. A spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The county attorney’s office did not provide additional details about the alleged hate crime.

A third person was charged with complicity in the alleged crime.

Authorities said in a press release that the killing occurred at a Chevron gas station in Tracy. The statement says that when officers found Peoples, he was shot once and stabbed.

Morris Peoples, Father of Peoples, said in an interview that he was later pronounced dead at a local hospital.

“He had the heart of a lion to live but it didn’t work out,” Morris Peoples said.

Morris Peoples said his son went with his girlfriend to the gas station to get places to wash. The friend, who stayed in their car, said that when Justin Peoples entered the gas station, the suspects followed him, according to Morris Peoples.

It is not clear if there was a confrontation before Jones and Lane shot and stabbed him.

Morris Peoples said his son grew up in nearby Stockton in California’s Central Valley. Morris Peoples said he attended San Joaquin Delta College before joining the Navy in 2010. He said he was discharged medically about a year later with an ulcer.

Morris Peoples said that when he was murdered, Justin Peoples was a young pastor at a local church and worked two jobs delivering auto parts and packages. The father said: He had two sons, ages 11 and 2.

Morris Peoples said his son had a “big, kind heart” and a big smile. “When he came around you, I could feel the light of his smile,” he said.

A lawyer for Jones and Garner did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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