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Suspected Serial Killer Arrested While Allegedly ‘Out Hunting’ for Victims Charged with Four Additional Murders

A mugshot shows Wesley Brownlee.

Wesley Brownlee. (Image via the Stockton, California Police Department.)

Authorities in Northern California have added four new murder charges against a man they say they arrested while he was “out hunting” for victims.

43-year-old suspected serial killer Wesley Brownlee has been charged with four additional counts of murder — bringing the total number of murder counts against him to seven — and one new count of attempted murder, the San Joaquin District Attorney’s office announced Tuesday.

Brownlee also faces firearms charges.

He was arrested in October by the Stockton Police Department and charged at the time with the murders of Jonathan Hernandez Rodriguez, 21, who was killed on Aug. 30, 2022; Juan Cruz, 52, who was killed on Sept. 21, 2022; and Lawrence Lopez Sr., 54, who was killed on Sept. 27, 2022.

The new charges allege that Brownlee also killed Juan Alexander Vasquez on April 10, 2021; Marvin Harmon on April 16, 2021; Paul Yaw on July 8, 2022; and Salvador Debudey Jr. on Aug. 11, 2022.

Harmon is the only new victim that authorities had not previously connected to Brownlee, local Sacramento Fox affiliate KTXL reported.

The attempted murder charge stems from Natasha LaTour being shot and injured in San Joaquin County, also on April 16, 2021. She is the only known survivor.

“The San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office continues to collaborate with our local law enforcement agencies to ensure justice for these victims,” San Joaquin District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar said in a statement following the filing of the charges. “We would like to thank the community for their support and law enforcement for their diligent investigation and apprehension of the suspect.”

As Law&Crime previously reported, police in Stockton began to link what at first appeared to be a series of unconnected killings as patterns emerged and the death toll added up with increasing frequency.

With the exception of Harmon — whose slaying has not yet been detailed by authorities — all of the aforementioned homicides involved unprovoked, ambush-style shootings that happened at night in what the authorities have described as poorly lit areas.

All of the victims were alone when they were gunned down. One of the victims was in a parked car while the others were walking.

The Associated Press reported that the shootings were linked by “ballistics tests and video evidence.” Some of the victims were homeless, but “[n]one were beaten or robbed,” the wire service reported.

LaTour, who survived the shooting, reportedly told investigators that her attacker “didn’t say anything” before he opened fire, making a potential motive difficult to determine.

Police Chief Stanley McFadden previously said his officers caught Brownlee while the suspect was in the process of searching for victims.

“Our surveillance team followed this person while he was driving,” the chief said, according to the AP. “We watched his patterns and determined early this morning he was on a mission to kill. He was ‘out hunting.'”

Brownlee is currently being held in the San Joaquin County Jail in French Camp without bond, jail records show. The records do not list a defense attorney.

Brownlee is currently scheduled to appear in Stockton Court at 9 a.m. on Jan. 3, 2023 to be arraigned on the new charges.

Read the amended complaint here.

[image via Stockton, California Police Department]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.