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April 4th, 2009 by Temple City Tribune
Rayshawn Blackwell and Nickleis Blackwell, who are both already in custody for on previous offenses, will be charged with the Jan 26, 2008 slaying of Salas and the attempted murder of her unidentified friend. The hearing originally slated for last week has been postponed until mid April.
Monrovia Police Chief Roger Johnson said he was delighted the two have been charged with Samantha Salas’ murder.
Johnson credits the Monrovia Police Dept. and Sheriff’s homicide bureau as well as the gang task force who worked closely together on this investigation.
The shooting came during a turf battle between black and Latino gangs in the Monrovia area. Salas mother’ Jeanette Chavez, said she was notified of the arrests last evening.
Cousins Rayshawn Blackwell and Nickleis Blackwell were scheduled to appear in Pasadena Superior Court on Thursday for an arraignment, but the hearing was postponed to April 15.
The city of Monrovia recently purchased the house in which the Blackwell’s resided and where numerous gang shootings have taken place on Sherman Avenue. Wednesday morning the city demolished the house with plans to have the property be used by Monrovia Reads and Plays and, possibly, to use it for the building of more Habitat for Humanity housing like the units currently under construction only a few doors north on Sherman Ave.
Jeanette Chavez, mother of the slain 16-year-old, was on hand to witness the demolition, agreeing with Mayor Hammond afterwards that the event offered some small amount of catharsis in what has been a long, emotional year for the family. Ms. Chavez said that it was not as satisfying, however, as seeing the two Blackwell cousins appear in court last Thursday.
"You should have seen them when they found out what they were going to be charged with," said Ms. Chavez. "But the whole time I was in the courthouse, I didn’t cry," she said proudly.
Until recently the case went unsolved, despite media coverage and a $20,000 offered by the county Board of Supervisors.