The slayings of seven family members unfolded when one victim returned home and drew a weapon as two gunmen were ransacking the house to find a safe they believed contained cash and cocaine, according to documents filed by prosecutors Monday.
One man arrested in last week’s killings — James Stewart, 30 — was searching for the safe upstairs but found nothing and went downstairs, according to a probable cause affidavit, the first detailed account of the incident. There he found that Magno Albarran, 29, had entered the house and pulled a gun on Desmond Turner, 28, whom authorities consider the main triggerman.
Stewart told investigators he fired his handgun at Albarran. Turner then “started shooting everybody,” Stewart said.
As Turner continued the rampage, Stewart said he pleaded with him “not to ‘go back there’ and not to shoot the kids,” referring to the bedrooms where the bodies of three children were found, according to the affidavit filed in Marion County Criminal Court.
‘Not my baby’
Three generations of family members were found dead after the shootings Thursday night. Police arrested Stewart without incident after a traffic stop Friday. Turner surrendered Saturday.
The court documents say Turner told a group of juveniles just before the attack that “he needed money and was going to hit a lick” — street terminology for a robbery.
Stewart told investigators after his arrest that he and Turner “had gone to a Mexican’s house to rob it of a safe containing a large sum of money and drugs,” the papers say.
Authorities have said that accounts of money and other valuables being kept inside the home were “fiction.”
A witness who had been in a car with Flora Albarran, 22, and waited in it as she went to get her son told police she noticed all the lights were out in the house and grew concerned.
Shortly after Flora Albarran entered the house, the witness watched as her brother Magno Albarran entered carrying a box of takeout food, according to the affidavit. His arrival was followed by screaming; gunshots; Flora Albarran screaming, “Not my baby”; more shooting; and then silence.
Turner claims innocence
Stewart and Turner were scheduled to appear in court Tuesday morning. Prosecutors have sought to delay the hearing, in part to await lab results on evidence connecting the men to the crime scene.
Killed at the home were Magno Albarran; Flora Albarran; her son, Luis, 5; the Albarrans’ mother, Emma Valdez, 46; Alberto Covarrubias, 56; and the sons of Valdez and Covarrubias, Alberto Covarrubias, 11, and David Covarrubias, 8. Police previously said Valdez and Covarrubias were husband and wife, but they were not married.
Turner and Stewart fled in a pickup truck Stewart had borrowed from a female friend and parked in an alley behind the home, according to the affidavit. Turner returned the truck after midnight Friday, then fell asleep at the foot of the friend’s bed.
Turner placed the clothing he was wearing during the killings in her bathtub with a mixture of cleaning solutions, alcohol and lotions, according to the affidavit.
Turner told television station WISH in an interview aired Monday that he is innocent and was shocked when he awoke Friday and discovered that police considered him the prime suspect.
“We watched it the night before and seen it on the news,” Turner told the station. “The next morning I woke up and seen my face on the news.”
Marion County prosecutor Carl Brizzi said Monday that he would seek the death penalty against Turner and was considering whether to do so against Stewart.
Investigators were still looking for those who may have knowingly sheltered Turner or Stewart after the slayings, Brizzi said.
“We are still working through what that trail looked like and who spent time with him voluntarily, as opposed to who spent time with him involuntarily,” he said.