Third man arrested for '95 murder
BARSTOW • A third man is in custody — his uncle ordered Wednesday to stand trial — for the 1995 murders of Barstow residents Mark Adamson and Joseph Riley.
Adamson and Riley were last seen 18 years ago getting into a maroon car in the Wal-Mart parking lot, according to previous reports. Authorities say information has since surfaced that the two were murdered and buried in the desert following a drug deal.
On Wednesday, a judge ruled there was sufficient evidence to hold 42-year-old James Franklin to answer to two counts of murder and a charge of conspiracy, court records show.
Franklin had been serving a life sentence without parole at Centinela State Prison for an unrelated homicide when he was charged in November 2012 with the murders.
His nephew, Steven Dondero, is due in court Dec.11 after he pleaded not guilty Tuesday to identical charges, court records show.
Dondero, 37, was apprehended last week in Long Beach after a warrant for his arrest was issued Nov. 8, according to a Barstow Police Department news release.
Christian Bunty also has been charged with the murders, although he faces an additional charge of robbery, court records show.
Bunty, 41, had been living in Idaho, where he was arrested last December. He is due in court Friday after he was ordered to stand trial in March, according to court records.
Both Franklin and Bunty have pleaded not guilty.
Dondero is currently in custody at West Valley Detention Center in lieu of $2 million bail, booking records show. Neither Bunty nor Franklin are eligible for bail.
The investigation is still ongoing. Anyone with information about the investigation is asked to call the Barstow Police Department at 760-256-2211. Those wishing to remain anonymous can call the WeTip Hotline at 800-782-7463.