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Murder suspect arraigned in Lodi

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Posted: Thursday, May 2, 2002 10:00 pm

Danny Lee Wade, who police say killed a disabled Lodi man Monday, was arraigned today on a charge of murder.

The charge carries a special circumstance of murder committed in the course of a burglary — a crime punishable by the death penalty.

However, because Wade, 23, does not have a history of violent crime, it’s unlikely the District Attorney’s Office will pursue the death penalty in the case, said Les Fleming, the supervisor of the San Joaquin County DA’s homicide team.

Danny Lee Wade scratches his head at his arraignment on murder and burglary charges Thursday. (Jerry R. Tyson/News-Sentinel)

“The chances that we go for the death penalty are relatively small,” Fleming said.

The decision won’t be made until after a preliminary hearing.

Wade did not enter a plea Thursday. His arraignment will continue at 8:30 a.m. May 9 in San Joaquin County Superior Court in Stockton, where Wade will be appointed a public defender until he obtains private counsel, which he said he intends to do. His bail is set at $1 million.

Police say Wade beat Robert DuBois, 38, to death in DuBois’ apartment in the 400 block of North Loma Drive on Monday night.

An official cause of death has yet to be disclosed by the coroner’s office.

Wade is also charged with robbing DuBois, who was paralyzed in a motorcycling accident as a teen.

Wade was arrested Tuesday night on charges of murder and burglary after questioning that lasted most of Tuesday, and what police called “inconsistencies in his story.”

Wade’s only prior conviction was in February for petty theft for stealing a bottle of liquor from a grocery store, according to court records.

DuBois apparently knew Wade through one of Wade’s girlfriends who used to be DuBois’ caretaker.

An open bottle of tequila was found in DuBois’ apartment by investigators Tuesday, Lodi police Sgt. Frank Grenko said.

Wade remained in the presence of investigators after he reported that he had found DuBois dead. Initially, he was only a witness, but his story started to fall apart, police said.

Grenko and a team of Lodi police homicide investigators spent Wednesday and Thursday following up on Wade’s various alibis and said that many of his stories cannot be substantiated.

DuBois was last seen alive Monday night when one of his neighbors, who asked not to be identified, saw him returning home with another man at around 8:30 p.m.

The other man was Wade, and he and DuBois sat down and had a few shots of tequila when they returned to the apartment, Grenko said.

But investigators still don’t know what prompted the violence that ensued, which must’ve occurred at about 10 p.m., Grenko said.

DuBois, who attended Stagg High School in Stockton, was known to cruise throughout Lodi in his wheelchair. He was in the news in 2000 when he spoke out about wheelchair unfriendly sidewalks — he was upset about uncut curbs in Lodi that made using his wheelchair in town difficult.

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