Felon Sentenced to Nearly 200 Years in Prison for Robbery-Murder

City News Service Pristine Villarreal

MURRIETA (CNS) – A convicted felon who joined another offender in an all-night robbery spree that culminated in the slaying of a Riverside convenience store clerk was sentenced Friday to 170 years to life in state prison.

A Murrieta jury in March convicted Roderick Lamar Grandison, 50, of Compton of first-degree murder and two counts each of armed robbery and firearm assault in connection with the killing of 28-year-old Waqar Tanveer of Fontana in 2020.

Grandison was tried separately from his partner-in-crime, 33-year-old John Lamont Bush of Los Angeles, who was convicted of murder, three counts each of armed robbery and firearm assault, and one count of being a felon in possession of a gun. Bush’s jury also found true a special-circumstance allegation of killing in the course of a robbery.

During a hearing at the Southwest Justice Center, Riverside County Superior Court Judge Stephen Gallon imposed the maximum term of imprisonment for Grandison’s offenses. The judge postponed Bush’s sentencing to July 14 after his attorney requested additional time to prepare a motion seeking a new trial, which is common in capital murder cases, but rarely results in approval at the trial court level.

Bush remains held without bail at the Byrd Detention Center.

A third co-defendant, 36-year-old Marleiya Onshel Barnes of Moreno Valley, pleaded guilty in 2021 to three counts of armed robbery and was sentenced to 15 years in state prison.

According to a trial brief filed by the District Attorney’s Office, Barnes, Bush and Grandison joined in the predawn hours of Feb. 28, 2020, to rob convenience stores.

With Barnes at the wheel of her sedan, their first stop was a 7-Eleven on Fourth Street in Perris. Bush entered the store at 1:35 a.m., prepared himself some coffee, then went to the counter as if to pay, but instead pulled a compact semiautomatic pistol from his pocket and leveled it at the clerk. The defendant snatched $400 and fled, prosecutors said.

An hour later, the trio headed to a 7-Eleven on Sunnymead Boulevard in Moreno Valley, where Grandison entered, acting as though he wanted to purchase cigarettes, according to the prosecution. When the clerk walked over to retrieve a pack for the defendant, Grandison “removed a small pistol from the front of his sweater and pointed it at the victim,” court papers stated.

Grandison forced the clerk to open the two cash registers at gunpoint, racking the slide on the handgun and telling him, “I’ll shoot you,” according to the brief. The man handed over a handful of money, and the defendant left.

At 3:15 a.m., the trio drove to the 7-Eleven at 6692 Indiana Ave. in Riverside, where Bush went in, armed with the same pistol he’d used in the first holdup, the brief said.

Tanveer was at the register and asked whether he could help the defendant as he approached the counter. The ensuing interaction was captured by security surveillance videotape.

“(Bush) then produced (his) handgun from his sweatshirt,” the brief said. “After pointing the gun at the clerk, he jumped over the counter. Once on the other side of the counter, (Bush) and Tanveer had a physical struggle. At 3:17 a.m., the (defendant) uses his right hand and raises the gun and points it at the face of Tanveer. Tanveer then drops to the ground. A pool of blood begins forming under him.”

Bush grabbed some cash from the register and fled. A customer arrived a short time later and discovered the victim mortally wounded.

Riverside police detectives and sheriff’s investigators initiated a joint investigation, and after learning of the holdup earlier in Moreno Valley, sheriff’s personnel obtained images from Moreno Valley’s Citywide Camera System, using the video to identify the getaway car driven by Barnes, according to court papers.

After confirming the car belonged to her, detectives tracked down the defendant and arrested her without incident a few days later. During interviews with investigators, Barnes “admitted that she drove her two friends … to the various robberies,” according to the brief.

Based on that information, detectives procured arrest warrants for Barnes and Grandison, who were taken into custody within a week

The men had prior felony convictions in another jurisdiction, but the offenses weren’t listed.

Copyright 2023, City News Service, Inc.

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