A state appeals court panel today upheld a Granada Hills man's first-degree murder conviction for the killing of a medical marijuana distributor whose body was found in a Long Beach alley more than three years ago.
A three-justice panel from California's 2nd District Court of Appeal cited "overwhelming evidence" of Marcel Maurice Mackabee's guilt, including his admission that he was with Phillip Williamson the day of the murder.
The appellate court justices also noted that the Toyota 4Runner Mackabee was driving was in the immediate vicinity of the alley minutes before Williamson's body was found on March 24, 2011.
Mackabee was convicted in July 2013 of first-degree murder, with jurors finding true a special circumstance allegation that the 29-year-old West Los Angeles man was murdered during the commission of a robbery.
Mackabee is serving a life term without the possibility of parole.
Mackabee's cousin, Charles Mackbee, and a third man, Kenneth Johnson, both of Long Beach, were tried separately and convicted April 25 of first- degree murder, with jurors finding true the special circumstance allegation of murder during a robbery. Both men were immediately sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Williamson -- who picked up marijuana from northern California and sold it in large quantities to medical marijuana dispensaries -- was shot once in the back of the head and dumped in an alley in the 1500 block of Pine Avenue. He died a day later.
Authorities believe that Mackabee -- who had met the victim through a mutual friend -- drove Williamson to Long Beach under the guise of a marijuana deal and that Mackabee returned to the victim's apartment to retrieve more than $100,000 in cash after the victim was shot by one of the other two men.
--City News Service