Others may be involved in fatal shooting of 9-month-old Merced baby, says attorney

Daevon Motshwane, who is accused of fatally shooting 9-month old Darius King Grigsby in Merced, entered a not guilty plea to murder charges during an arraignment hearing Thursday in Merced County Superior Court.

After the hearing, his defense attorney cautioned there may be more people involved in the Nov. 9 drive-by homicide, which happened in broad daylight while baby Darius’ mother was pushing him in a stroller.

“This case is not as cut and dry as people think,” said lawyer Regina Adams, Motshwane’s attorney.

Adams said based on her brief contact with her 18-year-old client, she anticipates “there will be some mitigating factors” in the case.

“There may be more people involved in this than we are currently aware of,” Adams said.

Motshwane’s charged with one count of murder and two counts of attempted murder. The alleged 17-year-old driver of the vehicle used in the shooting has also been arrested, however that person’s name has not been released because he is a juvenile.

The response by Motshwane’s attorney follows revelations in a police report that a third person was allegedly inside the vehicle used during the shooting.

According to the police report, however, Motshwane refused to identify who that person is.

Under questioning by police, Motshwane initially denied knowing anything about the shooting, but eventually admitted he was there, riding in a burgundy Chevrolet Trailblazer driven by a friend.

Surveillance video from nearby businesses and pings from Motshwane’s phone also put him at the scene of the shooting, according to the police report.

Deputies on alert in court

During Thursday’s hearing, Motshwane sat at the end of a bench reserved for inmates in court, as he waited for his case to be called. He was surrounded by several deputies, as he was attacked by another inmate during a court appearance two weeks ago.

Tension in the courtroom remained high Thursday as nearly a dozen of the victims’ friends and family members watched the brief hearing. Several family members wore pictures of baby Darius around their necks.

Also in the courtroom was baby Darius’s mother Monica Ayala, who said she plans to attend every hearing involving her son’s death. “I am doing this for him, I want to make sure that he gets justice,” Ayala said.

The defendant was arrested Nov. 17 in Gilroy, where police said he fled after the shooting.

According to police reports, the baby’s mother and a male friend were walking with the child in a stroller near the McDonald’s on West 13th Street around 12:30 p.m.

Motshwane alleged during an interview with police the man walking with Ayala had stolen something from his friend and he wanted to confront him.

Riding in a burgundy Chevrolet Trailblazer, the 17-year-old male driver allegedly pulled up near them and Motshwane opened fire, striking baby Darius with a bullet. The child died at the scene, Merced police said.

Police have said the baby was not the intended target of the shooting. Motshwane’s next hearing is scheduled for Jan. 5. He remains in custody at the Merced County jail.

Daevon Jamari Motshwane, 18, is led out of the courtroom after appearing before Judge Carol Ash in Merced County Superior Court in Merced, Calif., on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022.
Daevon Jamari Motshwane, 18, is led out of the courtroom after appearing before Judge Carol Ash in Merced County Superior Court in Merced, Calif., on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022.