Stockton - Today, District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar, announced that Jontell Jaymar Roots was sentenced on Monday, July 27, 2020, to 40 years to life, for one count of second degree murder (Penal Code § 187), with an enhancement for using a firearm in the commission of a felony, causing death (Penal Code § 12022.53(d)). Under the current state of the law, Mr. Roots will be eligible for a grant of parole upon his twenty-fifth year of incarceration, occurring in 2042. (Penal Code §§ 3046, 3051.)
"All assaultive behavior is criminal, but responding to a fistfight, with a loaded firearm, is the definition of violence escalation and a cowardly act," said District Attorney Salazar. "This disagreement should never have ended as it did. One young man is in prison, and a second young man is dead."
Evidence at trial established that on the evening of September 17, 2017, several people were milling around Simon's Market, located on the corner of N. Madison and W. Poplar Streets in Stockton. Lonnell Broadnax walked over to a group of people which included Mr. Roots. After an exchange, Mr. Broadnax punched Mr. Roots. Mr. Broadnax fled from the scene as someone chased him. Meanwhile, Mr. Roots' vehicle was seen leaving the area of the market. A person observed a gunman confront Mr. Broadnax in a parking lot on Monroe Street, two blocks behind the market. Mr. Broadnax was shot dozens of times, with thirty gunshot wounds noted during his autopsy. Investigators testified that, prior to the murder, Mr. Roots had posted social media content about his prized possession, a loaded Glock-type firearm that was consistent with that used to kill Mr. Broadnax. Less than two hours after the murder, Mr. Roots was in a rush to sell a Glock-type gun with a detachable, high-capacity magazine. He offered the firearm to two different people. It was never recovered.
Mr. Broadnax left a young daughter, and his mother and father lost their only child.
Several weeks after Mr. Broadnax was killed, Mr. Roots posted a quote on social media describing the feeling of power upon killing a victim. When he was interviewed by police upon his arrest, Mr. Roots denied knowing Mr. Broadnax, having seen him before, or even having been punched by the man, despite the altercation being on video. He denied his vehicle being at the market specifically during the altercation, although that was also on video.
The jury returned a verdict of guilty on the murder of Mr. Broadnax, determining that the murder was second degree. The jury found true the allegations that the murder was committed with the discharge of a firearm, causing death to Mr. Broadnax, and that the murder was committed with the use of a firearm. The Honorable Seth Hoyt, who presided over the jury trial, sentenced Mr. Roots to 15 years to life on the murder, with an additional and consecutive 25 years to life for the discharge of a firearm causing death. Judge Hoyt imposed the additional penalty for the discharge of the firearm because of the evidence at trial, as well as Mr. Roots' history of illegal firearms possession.
This prosecution was possible due to the investigative efforts of the detectives of the Stockton Police Department, and to witnesses who were willing to testify about the violent night they experienced. Deputy District Attorney Caitlin Casey tried the case. In particular, the District Attorney's Office wishes to commend the diligent work of Stockton Police Sergeant Joseph Bitondo, and Detectives Kevin Knall and Salvador Gomez. The work by the Stockton Police Department's Integrated Ballistics Identification System Unit is appreciated in this case, and in the many other homicides in which a firearm was used. Finally, Victim/Witness Advocate Hope Dunsing provided significant support to Mr. Broadnax's family throughout the court process.