South Bay News
San Jose man pleads guilty to violent crime spree
SAN JOSE, Calif. -- A San Jose man plead guilty to a crime spree that ended in a 22-year-old's death and the attempted murder of a police officer.
Jonathan Wilbanks, 27, is expected to be sentenced on Dec. 5 after pleading guilty to ten felonies, including murder, attempted murder of a peace officer, four counts of robbery, assault on a peace officer with a firearm, carjacking, shooting at an occupied vehicle, and auto theft.
Police say Wilbanks' spree began on Aug. 19, 2012, when he and a 12-year-old boy carjacked a man at gunpoint in San Jose for his Mercedes.
A week later, on Aug. 26, they opened fire on a man driving in their Alum Rock neighborhood. The victim was unharmed, but his car was hit by multiple bullets.
A few months later, on Nov. 16, police say Wilbanks and 15-year-old Adonis Muldrow began robbing San Jose stores at gunpoint. This included a Little Caesar's Pizza on Story Road, a Shell gas station on East Capitol Expressway, a Jack-in-the-Box on Curtner Avenue, and a 7-Eleven on Kiely Boulevard.
Wilbanks and his juvenile accomplice attempted to carjack 22-year-old Rory Park-Pettiford outside the 7-Eleven. When the victim refused to get out of his car, Wilbanks shot him twice, killing him.
About 15 minutes later, a San Jose police officer spotted Wilbanks' car. Before backup could arrive, Wilbanks and Muldrow got out of their car and started shooting at the officer.
Three bullets struck the officer's uniform and gun belt and two pierced his windshield and driver's seat. The officer, however, was not seriously injured. A second officer arrived and returned fire, hitting Wilbanks in the shoulder.
Wilbanks fired at officers again as he drove away. He forced his way into a home, but was soon found by police and arrested. Muldrow evaded officers, but was apprehended days later.
"Jonathan Wilbanks senselessly murdered Rory Park-Pettiford and then tried to kill a police officer to escape arrest," Deputy District Attorney James Leonard said. "Nothing will bring Rory back, but Wilbanks' guilty plea guarantees that he will never hurt anyone in our community again."
Muldrow is being charged as an adult with murder, attempted murder of a peace officer, and multiple counts of armed robbery.
san jose, crime, murder, shooting, guns, violence, SJPD, south bay news
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