For release on October 11, 2013
Deputy District Attorney
SAN JOSE MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO CRIME SPREE THAT ENDED IN MURDER
A 27-year-old San Jose man will spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole after pleading guilty today to a violent crime spree that ended with the murder of 22-year-old Rory Park-Pettiford and the attempted murder of a San Jose police officer.
Jonathan Wilbanks is expected to be sentenced by the Hon. Dan Nishigaya on December 5 after pleading guilty to ten felonies, including murder, attempted murder of a peace officer, four counts of robbery, assault on a peace officer with a firearm, carjacking, shooting at an occupied vehicle, and auto theft.
“Jonathan Wilbanks senselessly murdered Rory Park-Pettiford and then tried to kill a police officer to escape arrest,” Deputy District Attorney James Leonard said. “Nothing will bring Rory back, but Wilbanks’ guilty plea guarantees that he will never hurt anyone in our community again.”
Wilbanks’ spree began on August 19, 2012, when he and a 12-year-old boy carjacked a man at gunpoint in San Jose for his Mercedes Benz. A week later, on August 26, 2012, they opened fire on a man driving in their Alum Rock neighborhood. The victim was unharmed, but his car was hit by multiple bullets. Wilbanks and his juvenile accomplice escaped, but police recovered more than a dozen shell casings and the stolen Mercedes Benz. The juvenile has been apprehended, but is not being named because he is being prosecuted as a minor.
On the night of November 16, 2012, Wilbanks and 15-year-old Adonis Muldrow began robbing San Jose stores at gunpoint. They first robbed a Little Caesar’s Pizza on Story Road. Fifteen minutes later they robbed a Shell Gas Station on East Capitol Expressway. An hour later Wilbanks and Muldrow robbed a Jack-in-the-Box on Curtner Avenue at gunpoint. They followed this by robbing the cashier at a health spa.
At 9:00 p.m. Wilbanks and Muldrow ran up to Rory Park-Pettiford and his friend as they got into Park-Pettiford’s car outside a 7-Eleven. Wilbanks demanded that Park-Pettiford get out, but he did not. Wilbanks shot Park-Pettiford twice, killing him. Fifteen minutes later a San Jose Police officer spotted Wilbanks’ car. Before backup could arrive, Wilbanks and Muldrow got out of the car and began shooting at the officer before the officer could exit his vehicle. Three bullets struck the officer’s uniform and gun belt and two pierced his windshield and driver’s seat. Miraculously the officer was not seriously injured. A second officer arrived and returned fire, hitting Wilbanks in the shoulder. Wilbanks fired at officers again as he drove away. Wilbanks forced his way into a home, but was soon found by police and arrested. Muldrow evaded officers, but was apprehended days later. Muldrow is being charged as an adult with murder, attempted murder of a peace officer and multiple counts of armed robbery.