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Homicides keep Merced detectives busy

Merced Police Department main station on 22nd Street
Merced Police Department main station on 22nd Street
City of Merced

Four suspects in two homicides have been identified, the Merced Police Department announced Tuesday in a series of crime updates.

Noah Sanders, 23, was the third man taken into custody in connection with the February shooting death of Donovan Webster. Sanders was located at the Sacramento County Jail. He was in custody for a probation violation.

Arrested earlier were Jerome Wynne, age not released, and Phillip Sloan. Wynne and Sanders are known gang members, police said, and Sloan is also believed to be involved in gang-related activities.

Webster was shot and killed on Feb. 17 in the 2100 block of Martin L. King Way. The shooting was reported at 12:26 a.m.

"Sloan was initially interviewed in the early stages of the investigation and denied any involvement in the homicide," according to Sgt. Scott Skinner. "From the beginning, detectives believed there were two or possibly three individuals in the vehicle when the suspects pulled up to Webster. Throughout the course of the investigation witnesses have identified Sloan and Sanders in the vehicle."

Police are still trying to locate the firearm used in the shooting, Skinner said, and are not prepared to say what suspects told them during interrogations.

In an unrelated case, police identified Cochise Potts, 29, as the suspect in the Aug. 14 slaying of a man on Skylark Court in Merced. Police are withholding identification of the victim until family members are located and notified.

According to police, officers were summoned to 34 Skylark Court at 3:45 p.m. They found an injured 50-year-old man who was pronounced dead at a local hospital after being transported there by an ambulance.

Witnesses said that the victim arrived at Pott’s residence to discuss money Potts owed him, and that he hit Potts with a baseball bat. Potts then allegedly took the bat away from the man and hit him on the head with it.

Potts claims self-defense, according to Captain Tom Trindad, but "more statements and evidence needs to be obtained before a conclusion can be made."

Police continue to interview witnesses, Trindad said. Police announced Potts would be taken into custody and the matter would be referred to the Merced County District Attorney.