The accused killer of 20-month-old Rashad Halford Jr. is headed for a trial in June, a Fresno County Superior Court judge ruled Monday.
The defendant, Devin Ratliff, 35, is facing one count of murder and two counts of attempted murder for the June 21, 2016 shooting in the 3000 block of East Platt Avenue.
Also wounded was Rashad’s father Rashad Halford Sr., 35, and Willis Mucelroy, 49.
Police said Ratliff accused Rashad Halford Sr., also known as Ray Ray, of hitting his daughter during an argument. Detective David Fenstermaker testified that on the night of the shooting Ratliff snuck into the Halford’s apartment complex at about 10:30 p.m. and confronted Halford and Mucelroy as they sat outside.
“He said, ‘What’s up?’ and began firing,” Fenstermaker said during Monday’s preliminary hearing before Judge Gregory T. Fain.
Multiple rounds were fired by Ratliff and Halford. The autopsy of the toddler showed he was struck three times. The fatal wound was to an artery on the child’s left side.
The detective acknowledged under questioning by defense attorney Ralph Torres that Halford did not tell the whole story when he was first questioned by police, including having a weapon and firing at Ratliff.
During subsequent interviews, Fenstermaker figured out Halford’s gun was stashed in Mucelroy’s apartment before police arrived. Halford is a convicted felon and is not allowed to have a gun in his possession.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Deborah Miller said Halford was not the only one who identified Ratliff. Rashad Jr.’s mother Keyona Chadman also recognized Ratliff as the shooter. She picked him out from a photo lineup.
If convicted on all charges, Ratliff faces a maximum of 114 years to life in prison. His trial is scheduled for June 8 and settlement conference is June 1.