FRESNO — A Fresno County judge upheld the murder conviction for a former Fresno State student who was found guilty of killing a man over a PlayStation2 dispute four years ago.
In 2009, a jury found Jonquel Brooks guilty of in the fatal shooting of 19-year-old Brant Daniels and the attempted murder of three of Daniels’ friends. Fresno Superior Court Judge Gary Orozco sentenced Brooks to 109 years in prison.
The Fresno 5th District Court of Appeals ordered Orozco to revisit the case and verdict, and do one of three things: give Brooks a new trial, give Brooks a lesser sentence, or uphold the verdict.
During the hearing on Monday, Brooks’ attorney, Jane Boulger, said that her client deserved a new trial or reduced sentence because he didn’t start the conflict that turned deadly. Boulger said that Brooks feared for his life when he fired his handgun.
The dispute began on May 7, 2007 when Daniels and his friends went to Brooks’ apartment near California State University, Fresno, accusing him of stealing a PlayStation2 console. Brooks responded by getting his gun and firing a warning shot into the ground, according to Boulger.
Instead of leaving, the four men advanced on Brooks and he randomly shot his gun at them in order to defend himself, Boulger said.
Prosecutor Burton Francis said that Brooks did not have to shoot his gun and chose to arm himself. According to Francis, Brooks went into his bedroom where he could have locked himself in, but instead decided to get his gun. He then shot his gun five times, hitting Daniels in the back and two of the other men in the shoulder and neck.
Orozco agreed with the prosecutor and said that Brooks elevated the conflict by coming out of the room with a gun. Orozco then decided that the jury had heard enough evidence in 2009 to find Brooks, now 23, guilty of murder and attempted murder. He let the verdict and the sentencing stand.
Lorna Daniels, mother of the slain teen, was happy with the judge’s decision.
“Justice was done the first time around,” she said after the hearing.
Brooks said he plans to appeal the judge’s decision.