SAN JOSE -- Two defendants charged in a Nov. 16 crime spree that killed a Campbell man and ended with a police shootout appeared in court Wednesday but postponed their plea for a second time.
Their next hearing is set for Jan. 16.
Jonathan Wilbanks, 26, and Adonis Muldrow, 15, both of San Jose, have been charged with murder, attempted murder of a peace officer, robbery and other offenses in connection with four armed holdups, a homicide, and the ambush of a San Jose police officer.
The mother, friends and family of 22-year-old slaying victim Rory Park-Pettiford appeared in the courtroom but declined to speak with reporters and quickly left after the hearing.
Wilbanks and Muldrow said their only words in replying "Yes, sir" to Judge Jerome Nadler when waiving their right to a speedy trial.
Deputy district attorney James Leonard said his office plans to prosecute them together. The charges against Wilbanks make him eligible for the death penalty. Muldrow, who is being tried as an adult, would be spared from the death penalty or a sentence of life without parole because he is a minor.
Authorities say the two robbed four San Jose businesses at gunpoint the evening of Nov. 16 before heading to a 7-Eleven on South Kiely Boulevard, where they allegedly tried to carjack Park-Pettiford. Police believe Wilbanks shot and killed Park-Pettiford while Muldrow trained his gun on his car.
Wilbanks and Muldrow then abandoned the carjacking attempt and fled in a stolen Camry they had been driving, police say. The Camry was soon spotted by a 10-year San Jose police veteran who trailed it to Tully and Lanai avenues. At a stop light, two suspects got out and opened fire on the officer, who was wounded, but a second officer arrived and fought them off by returning fire.
The officers both chased the suspects, with Wilbanks reportedly shooting at them while trying to speed away. His accomplice got out of the car and disappeared, while Wilbanks crashed near Reid-Hillview Airport and was cornered and arrested.
A week later, police tracked Muldrow to an apartment in Concord.
Contact Robert Salonga at 408-920-5002. Follow him at Twitter.com/robertsalonga.