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Murder Suspects Offer Different Accounts

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By Craig Koscho

Murder suspects Donald Maurice Pinon and Daniel Maurice-Lessiue Rocha are accusing each other in the shooting death of 19-year-old David Jessop.

Pinon, 20, and Rocha, 19, are both charged with first-degree murder in the death of Jessop, whose body was found by a roommate at his Mokelumne Hill home early March 16.

He had been shot once in the head, according to a court report by sheriff´s Deputy Jon Thompson.

One of Jessop´s roommates, James Melvin Mclain, 20, may have been selling marijuana out of his room, Thompson said.

Mclain´s bedroom reportedly was always closed and locked with a deadbolt.

Rocha told authorities he and Pinon entered the home and that Pinon forced Mclain´s door open so they could steal money or drugs, Thompson said.

Pinon then entered Jessop´s room, according to Rocha, and shot the victim in the head.

However, three witnesses said Pinon told them it was Rocha who entered Jessop´s room and said something like, “He saw my face,” before killing Jessop.

The witnesses said Pinon described the position of Jessop´s body after being shot, details that were not made public.

A test given to Rocha the day after the killing revealed gunshot residue on his hands, Thompson said.

Pinon was not located in time to perform the test.

Witnesses also have said the two suspects were in Mokelumne Hill prior to Jessop´s killing and Rocha pointed a gun at two other people during that time, Thompson said.

A live .40 caliber shell, similar to the kind used in the homicide, was found at the residence where Rocha and Pinon were before the incident.

The suspects are being held at the Calaveras County Jail. Pinon is being held in lieu of $765,000 bail. Rocha has a bond of $780,000.

They face a May 10 date for their preliminary hearing, a court proceeding that determines if there is enough evidence to hold a trial.

Mclain and Ryan Joseph Cook, 18, were arrested as suspects in a March 21 burglary at the Hotel Leger in Mokelumne Hill in which about $3,000 in cash was taken.

They are free on bail.

Contact Craig Koscho at

Reprinted with permissionCalaveras Enterprise.Com