DA: Murder case will 'reverberate through the gang world'

DA: Murder case will 'reverberate through the gang world' »Play Video
Reputed gang members Kerry Hastings, left, and Markisha Ann Williams appear in court Thursday on murder charges.
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -- A suspected gang member faces murder charges in three separate killings, and prosecutors hint at surprises in the case against him.

Kerry Hastings, 23, is accused in murders going back to 2006. A woman is also charged in that case.

Markisha Ann Williams, 24, and Hastings were in Kern County Superior Court Thursday afternoon. District Attorney Ed Jagels said the case against Hastings is crucial.

"This defendant, we believe, is one of the most violent and dangerous gangsters in Kern County," Jagels said.

Hastings is accused in the 2006 murder of Leonard Banks on the 2700 block of Fairview Road, the July 2007 killing of Ernest Kerr Jr. on Cottonwood Road, and the murder this June of Anthony Daniels on the 1300 block of Reese Street.

"I don't think we've ever prosecuted anybody for three, unrelated murders that happened at different times and places, where the victims are not associated with each other," Jagels said.

Williams is also accused in the Banks murder.

Both face a number of charges for gang-related crimes and weapons violations. The gang ties are very also significant.

"The indictment and prosecution of Mr. Hastings is going to reverberate through the gang world," Jagels predicted.

The grand jury handed down a total of 28 charges in the indictment.

Jagels said his office and law enforcement poured huge resources into the case, but he wouldn't tip his hand on exactly what broke the case.

"As the facts unfold, you'll be amazed at how this investigation developed, what was done to get the goods on Mr. Hastings," Jagels said.

The D.A. said Hastings and Williams were already in jail when the indictment came out. They were being held for trial on a weapons charge case. Jagels says the new case will be much tougher than that.

"It's so hard to get evidence in the serious crimes," Jagels said. "It's not that hard to catch a gangster with a gun, or with some dope and put him away, and then put him away again and again. But, it's very hard to get witnesses to come forward on drive-by shootings and things like this."

The Bakersfield Police Department said the charges were the result of a long investigation by their department, Kern County Sheriff's Office and the D.A.

Jagels said he is very proud of the investigation, and he promised this would be a very complex case.

"It will be, I think I can guarantee, a fascinating case," he said.