Courts

Third man charged in Lul Jody killing

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A third man has been charged with participating in the drive-by shooting that left up-and-coming rapper Lul Jody dead in 2020, The Update has learned.

Eddie Young III, previously held without bail on attempted murder and robbery charges in relation to a shooting in Foothill Farms as a teenager, has been charged with one count of murder and one count of discharging a firearm from a vehicle in Jody’s death, along with an Oak Park Bloods gang enhancement – the same charges that rapper Murdagang JuJu, real name Julian Brown, and former college basketball player Anthony Smith are facing.

It wasn’t immediately clear what Young’s specific role in the killing was, however, prosecutors have previously said in court that multiple individuals in addition to Brown and Smith were present in the car when Smith allegedly fired the shots that killed Jody.

Police found Jody, real name Joseph Almanza, dead with a gunshot wound to the chest on 2900 Gardendale Road on June 6, 2020, following three ShotSpotter activations around 7:20 PM. Over 40 shots were fired at a group of people coming out of a birthday party, and shell casings littered the street. Investigators found that some of the victims being shot at returned fire towards a grey Nissan Altima.

Video shows the vehicle stop in the road moments before the shooting. The driver appears to talk car-to-car with the driver of a black Chevy Malibu with a “distinctive strip of paper” taped to the inside windshield. Brown has been pulled over in a similar car twice. Cops also found his DNA on a laser sight lying in the street.

Prosecutors say call records place Brown in the area of the homicide as it happened. He and others then returned to the Seavey Circle projects following the shooting, and cops were able to track him down to Henderson, Nevada, finding a Glock handgun in his house.

The Nissan Altima was registered to Smith’s girlfriend, who was in Antioch at the time of the killing. Police were able to link Brown and the 26-year-old through several searches of their social media accounts, revealing their Oak Park Blood ties through several articles of clothing, captions, and Brown’s rap persona.

According to DDA Megan Eixenberger, several of the victims shot at were associated with G-Mobb, the Meadowview Bloods, and Guttah Gas. It wasn’t immediately clear whether Almanza was associated with a gang.

Smith was also placed at the location of the homicide through cell phone data, court papers say, and he was arrested after authorities tracked him down to Long Beach. Other evidence collected by investigators include “dozens of recorded conversations” from a tap of the men’s phones, according to prosecutors.

Young was formally added as a defendant in the case against Smith and Brown last month and is scheduled to appear with both men in Department 9 for a tentative preliminary hearing date in September. He has pled not guilty.

Ethan Biando
Ethan Biando is a freelance journalist from Sacramento. His writing focuses on crime, courts, and policing. Find him on Twitter @ethanb822

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