Charges in 2006 death of 'Freedom Writers' actor - East Valley Tribune: Get Out

Charges in 2006 death of 'Freedom Writers' actor

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Posted: Wednesday, September 10, 2008 9:53 am | Updated: 11:33 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

ANAHEIM, Calif. - Two Long Beach men have been charged with the murder of an actor who was gunned down two years ago shortly after he ended filming for "Freedom Writers," authorities said.

Armand Jones, 18, walked into a robbery at a Denny's restaurant after celebrating the wrap of the movie at an Anaheim nightclub on March 16, 2006.

The defendants, Damon Hill, 24, and Jarrell Kelly, 20, are accused of robbing two of Jones' friends at gunpoint in the restaurant restroom, police said.

Jones entered the restroom and was robbed of his jewelry. He chased the robbers into the parking lot, where he was fatally shot in the chest, police said.

Jones played the character Grant Rice in "Freedom Writers," which starred Hilary Swank and was based on a true story of a teacher who helps her at-risk Long Beach students learn tolerance.

A second victim, Ronnell Spencer, who had also been with Jones, was shot in the head but survived.

Hill and Kelly are charged with one felony count each of murder and attempted murder, three felony counts of second-degree robbery and several sentencing enhancements for committing the crimes in connection with a street gang.

If convicted, Hill and Kelly could each face a maximum sentence of life without the possibility of parole. An arraignment date has not been set.

Both men are in state prison serving three-year terms on unrelated robbery charges.

Police Sgt. Tim Schmidt said detectives found additional victims who led investigators to charge Hill and Kelly.

Schmidt said there could be additional suspects in the killing.

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Information from: The Orange County Register, http://www.ocregister.com

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