BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. - Three men were in court on Thursday for the deadly shooting of two Florida brothers in the Frobestown area, according to Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey.
A judge found enough evidence to allow for a case against 22-year-old Michael Griff, 22-year-old Austin Hogan and 25-year-old Kyle Smith.
The case will continue for two counts of murder and two counts of robbery after evidence presented on Thursday showed the victims, 33-year-old Randy Bonds and 39-year-old Jerry Bonds, were brothers from Florida, according to Ramsey.
Ramsey said Randy and Jerry came to buy marijuana from the three men.
The investigation began on Oct. 21, 2020, when the family members of Randy and Jerry called the Butte County Sheriff’s Office to report them as missing.
The family reported the brother flew to Los Angeles and rented a car two days before. The family said they were tracking the location of one of the brothers on his phone and went missing in the Forbestown area.
A multistate investigation began when the rented vehicle showed up at a casino in Boomtown, Nevada with blood inside.
A witness told officials the Smith, Hogan and Griff killed Randy and Jerry, which lead to the arrest of the three people.
Two people and five law enforcement officers testified and outlined evidence that linked the three defendants to a meeting with Randy and Jerry in Butte County, Ramsey said.
Ramsey added that the Bonds were lured into a remote location by the men and they were fatally shot by Griff and Hogan who were using a handgun and a shotgun. The court found evidence they each fired the handgun, Ramsey said.
Hogan, Griff and Smith then moved the bodies into vegetation in the area and Smith drove the rental vehicle to the Nevada casino. Griff and Hogan followed Smith and surveillance linked the defendants to the vehicles and the homicide scene.
Officers said they located several pieces of property that belonged to Randy and Jerry at Griff’s home, including Randy’s wallet with his Florida ID.
A firearm and evidence of marijuana sales were discovered by investigators. Evidence also showed that the three defendants have been living together in Oroville.
The judge also found evidence that the “murders were carried out for financial gain; while lying in wait; in the commission of a robbery and constituted multiple murders,” Ramsey said.
The defendants could face a life sentence without the possibility of parole.
They are in custody without bail and are scheduled to appear in court on Nov. 3 for further arraignment and the setting of a jury trial.