RIVERSIDE – A young man who was involved with his cousin in an alleged racially motivated shooting in the Moreno Valley pleaded guilty Friday to voluntary manslaughter.
Jared Lee Zesk, 20, of Riverside, pleaded guilty to the felony charge under a plea agreement with the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office. Zesk was originally charged with murder, but that count was reduced in a plea deal.
Superior Court Judge Matthew Parentoni scheduled a sentencing hearing on June 24 at the Riverside Hall of Justice. The prescribed term of imprisonment under the agreement is 11 years in a state prison.
The defendant is being held in lieu of a $1 million bail at the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning.
His cousin, Darren Peter Zesk, also 20 and from Riverside, was charged with first-degree murder, special circumstances charges of lying while waiting and committing a hate crime, as well as charges of aggravated gun and great bodily injury. Is.
Darren Zesk is being held at the Bayard Detention Center in Murrieta in lieu of $2 million bail and is slated for trial at the Riverside Hall of Justice on June 20.
He is accused of shooting Masai Cole of Inglewood on the night of February 1, 2020.
According to evidence presented during the defendants’ preliminary hearings in July 2020, the pair were partying with others at a house in the 16500 block of Century Street, near Cremeria Avenue, when a fight broke out between Zesk and other celebrants , which inspired the hosts. Kick the cousins off the property.
Zesks left, but returned 90 minutes later, and Darren Zesks reportedly shot Cole at point-blank range, firing multiple bullets into the victim’s upper body. He died on the spot. The basis of the charge of hate crime was not clear.
According to sheriff’s officials, Zesk fled along the river, where Darren Zesk was arrested 30 minutes later on Huston Drive without incident. Jared Zesk was taken into custody three days later in the Juropa Valley.
Neither defendant has documented prior felony convictions.