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DA Mike Hestrin to seek the death penalty against man charged with the murder of sheriff’s deputy

July 3, 2023

RIVERSIDE – A Lake Elsinore man charged with the murder of a Riverside County sheriff’s deputy will now face the death penalty, Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin announced today, July 3, 2023.

The notice of intent to seek the death penalty was filed against Jesse Ceazar Navarro, DOB: 1-24-80, on June 30, 2023.

Navarro is charged with one count of murder for the killing of Deputy Darnell Calhoun, 30, who was assigned to the Lake Elsinore Sheriff’s Station. The special circumstance allegations attached to the murder charge – murder of a peace officer and discharge of a firearm from a vehicle with intent to kill – make Navarro eligible for the death penalty.

Hestrin met with experienced prosecutors to examine and discuss related evidence before making the decision to pursue the death penalty.

“Deputy Calhoun showed incredible courage during a terrifying situation that unfolded in a matter of seconds,” Hestrin said. “His dedication to the community culminated in a ruthless attack by Navarro that also put the lives of many others at extreme peril.”

On Jan. 13, 2023, Deputy Calhoun was dispatched to a home in the 18500 block of Hilldale Lane in Lake Elsinore regarding a domestic disturbance. Navarro is accused of firing multiple shots at Deputy Calhoun moments after he arrived on scene, striking Calhoun several times.

Navarro is also charged with shooting at another Riverside County sheriff’s deputy who came to Calhoun’s aid.

The case, SWF2300193, is being prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Marcus Garrett of the DA’s Homicide Trial Team.