Final Man Sentenced in Salton Sea Murder


Last updated 9/6/2018 at 10:53am

The last of the three men from Indio convicted in the May 2016 murder of a Salton City resident was sentenced to 28 years to life in prison Aug. 21.

Aaron Jackson, 22, was originally facing life without the possibility of parole for his role in the beating of 57-year-old resident Donald Tarker, but the superior judge ruled otherwise.

Back in June 2018, after a lengthy deliberation, Jackson, along with Justin Louis Darnell Alford, 31, were found guilty of murder, robbery and conspiracy.

Both of the men’s robbery and burglary convictions included special allegations of having committed the robbery in a home, and the burglary while the residence was occupied.

Both men, along with Kevin Scott, 37, co-conspirator, burglarized Tarker’s home in May 2016, in an attempt to steal marijuana from him. Tarker was licensed to grow medical marijuana at his home.

During this time, three others, who were also beaten close to death, also occupied the home.

Scott faced similar charges, and pleaded no-contest to voluntary manslaughter; two counts of first-degree burglary, one count of second-degree burglary and was sentenced to 16 years in prison back in January.

However, in exchange for his plea, Scott promised to cooperate with the prosecution, and other charges were dismissed against Scott, according to court records.

In July, Alford was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, after being found guilty of two counts of battery with serious bodily injury with special allegations in connection to the beating of two individuals present at the home. He was also found guilty of making criminal threats against the victims.

It was said that Alford was the one who largely prompted the home invasion robbery that led to the death of Tarker. The court tacked on an additional 38 years for his two counts of battery and one count of criminal threats.

Jackson’s sentencing was pushed to August, due to the defense motion seeking a mental evaluation.

All three defendants had been detained by U.S. Border Patrol agents on Highway 86 near Avenue 66 in Riverside County on the night in question after a description of their vehicle had been reported to authorities.

Marijuana stolen from Tarker’s residence was in their possession, as well as other items, according to court testimony.

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