Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Watch Live

Suspects In 2011 City Heights Murder Plead Not Guilty

Cordell King is pictured in this undated photo.
RIP Cordell King Facebook Page
Cordell King is pictured in this undated photo.

Two people accused of taking part in a retaliation gang killing in a City Heights neighborhood more than four years ago pleaded not guilty Tuesday to murder, conspiracy and other charges.

Dionte Simpson, 25, was ordered held without bail and 28-year-old Jennifer Lee Whitmer was ordered held in lieu of $2 million bail.

Deputy District Attorney Christopher Lawson told Judge David Szumowski that 28-year-old Cordell King was "executed" six days after a well-known member of the defendants' gang was killed in a drive-by shooting on Ocean View Boulevard.


Lawson alleged the defendants and two others went "hunting" for rival gang members and came upon King — wearing blue clothing associated with a rival gang — in the 4600 block of Thorn Street shortly before 5 p.m. on April 17, 2011.

The prosecutor said Whitmer was driving and someone fired a shot out of the car and "hobbled" King, sending him to the ground. The defendant then pulled a U-turn and Simpson got out of the vehicle and shot King in the chest, then fired two more shots toward his head, Lawson alleged.

King, who lived nearby, died at the scene.

Detectives recently uncovered evidence that allowed them to identify the gang members believed to have been in the shooter's vehicle, according to San Diego police Lt. Paul Rorrison.

Whitmer was taken into custody Friday during a traffic stop near her Lincoln Park home, Rorrison said.


Simpson is awaiting trial on an attempted murder charge for allegedly using the same .45-caliber gun used in King's murder to shoot a separate victim in June 2011, according to the criminal complaint.

A third suspect in King's murder, 25-year-old Callie Beasley, was arrested Saturday near Los Angeles and is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday.

A status conference is scheduled for Aug. 4 and a preliminary hearing for Aug. 10.