SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A dramatic display of assault weapons was presented during the murder trial of four men accused of killing a mother as she tried to protect her toddler from gunfire.

Prosecutors say in 2010, rival gang members started shooting at a crowded South Sacramento barbershop, killing Monique Nelson, 30, another man and injuring several others.

Defense attorneys and prosecutors presented the firepower used inside the Fly Cuts barbershop on Stockton Boulevard.

The gun battle, police say, pitted rival gang members Lonnie Mitchell and his brother Louis against James Carney and Larry Jones.

Investigators say Nelson was getting her 2-year-old son into his car seat when the gunfire broke out. One of those bullets pierced Monique’s windshield and hit her in the chest. She died, slumped over her son as he sat in his car seat.

Three defense attorneys representing the four suspects agree their clients are guilty of possessing illegal weapons—one pointing out a suspect had an AK-47 in his pants. But the attorneys believe their clients shouldn’t be charged with Nelson’s murder, calling it a case of self-defense.

Prosecutors disagreed, saying Nelson would still be alive had the suspects not opened fire in the first place.

“And you will find beyond a reasonable doubt that everyone of them are responsible, legally responsible, for the death of Monique Nelson,” said Sacramento County assistant district attorney Valerie Brown.

The case is expected to last at least six weeks.


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