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Testimony reveals new details in DHS murder trial

By Aldrin Brown, City News Service

A Cathedral City man on trial for murder told police he provided the shotgun used by his stepson to kill a man during an April altercation in front of a Desert Hot Springs home, according to a video of his interview with police that was played for jurors on Tuesday.

William McCrumb, 63, is charged with murder, murder with malice, assault with a deadly weapon, accessory to murder with malice and being a felon in possession of a firearm for killing 38-year-old Damon Capacchione of Desert Hot Springs on April 2, 2014.

In the videotaped police interview from April 3, McCrumb offered a slowly evolving account of his involvement, first saying he wasn’t there, then conceding he witnessed the shooting, before finally admitting he brought the shotgun from home at the request of his son, Taireece Ross, who took it from him moments before the fatal shooting.

“Taireece, he told me to bring it,” McCrumb is seen telling investigators.

During testimony this week at Larson Justice Center, no one disputed that Ross — who is scheduled to appear in court Feb. 9 — was the man who shot and killed Capacchione during a fight in the 12700 block of Parma Drive in Desert Hot Springs.

Defense attorney Ronny Hettena conceded that the shotgun belonged to McCrumb and had been in his white Ford F-150 pickup truck.

Ross, 22, who is McCrumb’s stepson, began feuding with Capacchione that afternoon at the home of Ross’ godmother, Tonisha Griffin, after Capacchione walked naked into the living room while children were present, according to testimony.

Ross’ daughter, and the daughter of one of his close friends, Anthony Murrell, were among the children in the home. Murrell asked Capacchione, a guest of Griffin’s, to put clothes on
because children were present. Capacchione complied and then apologized to Ross and Murrell.

Ross refused to accept Capacchione’s apology, touching off a confrontation that spilled into the street and turned violent, according to witnesses. At some point, Ross phoned his stepfather, told him what had happened and asked, “Can you bring it?” McCrumb told investigators in the interview.

McCrumb drove to the scene of the altercation and initially parked down the street, because police responding to a report of a disturbance were blocking the street. Officers left, thinking the confrontation had been largely diffused.

With police gone, McCrumb moved his car directly across the street from Griffin’s home, according to testimony, and when tensions flared again, Ross went toward the pickup truck and somehow obtained the shotgun from McCrumb.

Witnesses told police that McCrumb struck Capacchione with the butt of the shotgun. During the videotaped interview, McCrumb told investigators the victim was struck in the face twice by accident, as McCrumb struggled to keep the gun from Ross.

“Taireece grabbed the gun away from me and it hit (Capacchione),” McCrumb said. “I wasn’t trying to hit him.”

Capacchione died at Desert Regional Medical Center about 30 minutes after being shot, according to the Riverside County Coroner’s Office.

McCrumb, Ross and Ross’ mother, Tamara Lester, fled the scene immediately after the shooting.

Lester, 39, has pleaded guilty to being an accessory for trying to dispose of the gun in the desert.

KESQ News Team

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