(STOCKTON, Calif.) — The suspected Stockton, California, serial killer made his first court appearance Tuesday afternoon after police say he was apprehended while “out hunting” for another victim this weekend.
Wesley Brownlee, a 43-year-old who police say is linked to six slayings, has been charged with three counts of murder, with more charges expected, San Joaquin County District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar said at a news conference Tuesday.
Cell data linked the suspect to areas near the scenes of at least three murders, officials revealed in court, ABC Sacramento affiliate KXTV reported.
Brownlee was held without bail, KXTV reported.
“This individual thought he could come to our community and do harm — not in our house,” the district attorney said. “You do not get to come into our house and do this kind of crime … and not think that [the Stockton Police Department] is not gonna … find you and hold you fully accountable.”
Brownlee was a truck driver and moved to Stockton this summer, the district attorney said.
Authorities said they zeroed in on Brownlee from tips and surveilled him as he allegedly prowled the streets for another victim. Brownlee was arrested early Saturday while he was driving, Stockton police chief Stanley McFadden said.
Brownlee was apprehended while wearing dark clothing and a mask around his neck, according to McFadden. He was also armed with a gun, police said.
“He was on a mission to kill. He was out hunting,” McFadden said in a statement. “We are sure we stopped another killing.”
The six slayings — all fatal shootings of men — spanned from April 2021 to September 2022, according to police.
Five of the six killings were in Stockton; one was in Oakland, about 70 miles away. All of the shootings were at night or in the early morning.
A seventh victim, a 46-year-old woman, was shot in April 2021 and survived her injuries, police said.
A motive isn’t known.
The police chief said the suspect was near perfect in covering up his tracks and being careful.
“He didn’t make many mistakes. We know he purposely stayed in the dark,” McFadden said Monday.
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