Pot dispensary murder trial begins

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SAN DIEGO — Opening statements are scheduled Monday in the trial of a man charged with murder in the armed holdup of a North Park marijuana dispensary in which an accomplice was shot and killed by a security guard.

Kurese Bell, 19, faces life in prison if convicted.

The armed robbery and fatal shooting occurred about 12:30 p.m. on April 25, 2014, in the 3800 block of Ray Street.

At a preliminary hearing last year, Det. Jana Beard testified that security guard Henry Smith told her he fatally shot 18-year-old Marlon Thomas after Thomas and another robber threatened to kill him and the dispensary owner.

The security guard was shot in the abdomen and the bullet lodged in his pelvis. He has recovered and is working again, prosecutor Chris Moon said.

The getaway driver in the robbery, Atiim Smith, pleaded guilty last year to attempted murder and was sentenced to eight years in prison. Another co-defendant, Jonathan Vincent Collins, pleaded guilty to a robbery charge with a gang allegation and was sentenced to 12 years behind bars.

Bell is also charged in the robbery of a smoke shop on El Cajon Boulevard four days before the dispensary robbery.

1 Comment

  • Anthony

    The robbers fought back in self defense. The shooter shot the security guard after the security guard shot Marlon Thomas who was not armed. Robbers don’t kill owners of pot shops, they’re after the money, and product, that’s it. No alabis are lead to be true, and so, that is your criminal justice system for you.

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