Man was ‘executed’ as he ate alone at California restaurant, officials say. 2 charged

Man was ‘executed’ as he ate alone at California restaurant, officials say. 2 charged


Two men have been charged after a man was “executed” as he dined alone at the counter of a California restaurant, prosecutors said.

Two men, Phillip Pasco Clark, 33, and Santana Jermaine Kelly, 50, are each facing one count of murder and one count of conspiracy to commit a crime in connection with the death of Sidney Barrett Morris, the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office said in March 28 a news release.

Morris was sitting at the counter at Fixins Soul Kitchen, part of the L.A. Live entertainment complex near the Arena, shortly after 6 p.m. Nov. 28, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, when Clark walked in, prosecutors said.

Clark is accused of walking up to Morris and shooting him, “killing him instantly,” according to prosecutors.

Clark fled the area “in a vehicle driven by an unknown individual,” prosecutors said.

Morris was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, The Los Angeles Times reported.

“When I heard about this, I was just as shocked as anybody else was. I was like, L.A. Live?” Capt. Raul Jovel told the outlet in November. “This is a very safe place. It’s a family-friendly place.”

At the time of the shooting, police told the newspaper that they believed the attack was targeted.

Kelly is accused of helping plan the shooting, as well as “providing supplies and support,” prosecutors said.

The day after the shooting, prosecutors said Kelly is accused of setting the getaway car ablaze “in an attempt to destroy evidence.”

“The brazenness of this shooting is alarming,” District Attorney George Gascón said in the release. “(Morris) had dedicated his life’s work to fostering inclusivity and harmony within our society, making his untimely death all the more devastating.”

Morris was hired as the Title IX coordinator and director of equity and diversity at California State University, Northridge in 2019, according to the university’s publication, CSUN Today. However, he resigned a few months before his death, a spokesperson for the university told McClatchy News on March 28.

Morris, who was born in Los Angeles and grew up in Michigan, was the nephew of Barrett Strong, a Motown songwriter known for “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” and “War,” the university said.

At the time of his hiring, Morris told the university “being a part of positive change” kept him motivated.

Kelly is being held on $3.06 million bail, while Clark’s bail is set at $4.06 million, according to prosecutors.

If convicted on all charges, prosecutors said Kelly could face a potential maximum 100-year to life prison sentence. Clark could face a maximum 85 years to life in prison.

Both men pleaded not guilty, prosecutors said, adding they are expected to appear in court again on April 25.

Attorney information for them was not listed in the release.

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