A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Friday for a gang member accused of gunning down a 6-year-old girl and wounding her father during an unprovoked attack at a Moreno Valley house party.
Keandre Narkie Johnson, 21, of Moreno Valley was arrested in September following an investigation by Riverside County sheriff's detectives into the fatal shooting of Tiana Ricks of Victorville.
Johnson, who is being held without bail at the Robert Presley Jail in Riverside, is charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder, gang activity and a special circumstance allegation of killing for the benefit of a street gang, along with sentence-enhancing gun and great bodily injury allegations.
Today's hearing will determine whether there's sufficient evidence to warrant a trial in the case. If convicted, Johnson could face either the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole. The District Attorney's Office has not yet announced whether it will seek capital punishment.
According to the D.A.'s office, investigators received numerous tips following the Sept. 7 shooting that helped identify Johnson, who was on parole. A second suspect whom witnesses said accompanied the defendant remains at large.
Tiana and her father, 26-year-old Tyrell Ricks Jr., were among around 30 people gathered for a loved-one's going-away party at a house in the 25000 block of Harker Lane on the night of the attack.
The victims were in the garage with friends and family when Johnson and the other assailant walked onto the property uninvited, shouted a gang slogan and allegedly opened fire, according to witnesses and sheriff's investigators.
Numerous shots were fired, striking Tiana and her father. The child died at Riverside County Regional Medical Center in Moreno Valley about two hours later. Her father underwent surgery at the same facility and has since recovered.
The gunmen were not known to the victims, according to witnesses.
Johnson was located at a house at 230 Valley View Drive in Hemet on Sept. 16 and was taken into custody without incident, sheriff's officials said.
According to court records, the defendant has prior convictions for felony burglary, gang activity and being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.