Authorities on Tuesday announced charges against four men and one woman in connection with the slaying of 59-year-old security guard Kenneth Love II at an unlicensed cannabis dispensary in Spring Valley in June 2020.
The three men charged with murder in Love’s shooting death are 30-year-old Daveon Dajuan Hicks Sr. and 29-year-old Curry James Williams Jr., who both live in Compton, and 41-year-old San Diego resident Jamal Johnson. Prosecutors have also charged the trio with 10 other felonies in connection with an alleged extortion plot and two other shootings in July and November 2019 in the Spring Valley area.
Prosecutors said the three shootings were part of a “broader scheme to extort … illegal dispensaries for money.”
Adrian Kasey Batten, 36, was charged with conspiracy to commit extortion and other charges related to the Spring Valley shootings, according to the District Attorney’s Office. Jester Ramos, 28, has been charged with attempted robbery and shooting at an occupied building.
Authorities arrested Hicks and Williams on July 1 in Compton, about a week after sheriff’s officials asked the public for help on June 23 identifying a “person of interest” in the homicide. Johnson and Batten were arrested July 7 after stepping off a plane in Los Angeles, and Ramos was arrested that same day at his San Diego home.
All five defendants have been arraigned and pleaded not guilty to the charges, according to the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office.
Prosecutors said Hicks and Williams are members of a Los Angeles gang, while Johnson is “associated” with a San Diego gang. The group used “threats and violence to intimidate” the owners of unlicensed dispensaries if extortion money wasn’t paid, prosecutors said in a statement.
“This case demonstrates how violent gang crime knows no borders and criminals will exploit any opportunity, such as