One of the two men who have been charged for allegedly killing and stuffing a man’s body into a barrel along Malibu Beach appeared in court for the first time today.
Joshua Lee Simmons, 32, was arrested by the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Office and charged in the killing of Javonnta Murphy, who authorities say was fatally shot before his body was dumped inside a 55-gallon plastic drum and left in the water.
Exclusive pictures obtained by DailyMail.com show Simmons in court. He pleaded not guilty and his bail has been set at $3,500,000.
Sanitation workers first spotted the drum floating in the water along the Pacific Coast Highway bridge on July 30. But Murphy was only discovered dead the following day when lifeguards swam to retrieve it and noticed its weight.
Prosecutors allege that Simmons killed Murphy on July 27 and due to high winds, the barrel floated towards Miami beach.
Once lifeguards found Murphy’s body, Los Angeles authorities began investigating a potential connection between him and the 2020 murder of Brooklyn rapper Pop Smoke.
Murphy is the brother of Jaquan Murphy — one of five people who was arrested in link to Pop Smoke’s murder.
Joshua Lee Simmons, 32, was arrested by the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Office and charged in the killing of Javonnta Murphy, who authorities say was fatally shot before his body was dumped inside a 55-gallon plastic drum and left in the water
He pleaded not guilty and his bail has been set at $3,500,000
Prosecutors allege that Simmons killed Murphy on July 27 and due to high winds, the barrel floated towards Miami beach
Jaquan had originally been charged with the attempted murder of the rapper but was later cleared of any wrongdoing. The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department is now looking into the possibility that Javonnta was killed in retaliation for Pop’s murder.
Pop Smoke, whose real name was Bashar Barakah Jackson, 20, was killed in a suspected home invasion at a Hollywood Hills home he had rented by a group of masked men at around 4.30am in February 2020.
That July, two men and two teenagers were charged with his killing. All four defendants were members of the same street gang and are said to have learned of Pop Smoke’s whereabouts from his Instagram account.
They were able to see the address of the rapper’s Airbnb on a gift bag label and saw that he had a stack of cash with him.
A friend of someone staying in the house had called 911 to report the intruders, according to police.
The rapper’s body was discovered shortly afterward, and he was subsequently declared dead after being taken to a hospital.
Los Angeles authorities are probing whether Javonnta Murphy, 32, left, may have been killed in retaliation for rapper Pop Smoke’s 2020 murder
He was discovered dead on Monday when lifeguards swam to retrieve a 55-gallon drum from the water and noticed it was heavy
The body of a man found dead in a barrel along Malibu beach has been identified as 32-year-old Javonnta Murphy
The next new trial date for Simmons has not been announced yet
In April, a 20-year-old man pleaded guilty to his role in the scheme, admitting he and his friends entered Pop Smoke’s Hollywood Hills mansion with a plan to rob the rapper of a ‘large gold watch.’
The defendant, who was not named because he committed the crime when he was a juvenile, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and home invasion robbery.
He was said to have been the one to scout the mansion, and recruited others to the crime.
The 20-year-old was sentenced to four years and two months at the Secure Youth Treatment Facility in Los Angeles, but could remain in juvenile custody until he’s 25.
The defendant is the first in the alleged scheme to plead guilty.
Other defendants included Corey Walker, who is the sole adult defendant in the case.
Prosecutors claimed Walker was caught in a secretly-recorded jailhouse interview allegedly confessing to his role in the killing.
Walker is said to have admitted how the group used ski masks and a police scanner in an attempt to avoid being caught.
‘He said that when the individuals got inside, the suspects confronted (Pop Smoke), who was in the shower naked,’ LAPD Det. Carlos Camacho testified in 2021.
At one point, according to Walker’s retelling of the crime, it appeared Pop Smoke was complying with the demands to hand over the jewelry that he was still wearing but the rapper fought back and ‘rushed’ the intruders.
The rapper was then pistol-whipped before a 15-year-old is alleged to have shot him in the chest, according to Walker’s account.
Hours before he was killed, Pop Smoke shared three photos of himself outside the home on Instagram. In two of the photos (above) the rapper is seen posing with Louis Vuitton luggage next to the same white Range Rover that was parked in the driveway when medics arrived
In the third photo, Pop Smoke is sitting in the driver’s seat of the SUV next to his friend Mike Dee, who is holding a massive stack of cash
Murphy’s older brother was originally arrested in connection with Pop Smoke’s murder, but was cleared of any wrongdoing. Medics are seen carting the victim to an ambulance that transported him to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead in February 2020
That teen is also alleged to have admitted his role in the murder in an interview recorded with a cellmate at a juvenile detention center.
‘He admitted that he shot the victim three times with a Barretta 9mm,’ Camacho testified at a preliminary hearing.
‘They got into a fight, and he shot him three times,’ Camacho detailed referring to the recorded jail interview. ‘He said he shot him on the back.’
The 15-year-old ‘admitted that they asked for the jewelry’ and had ‘a confrontation’ with Pop Smoke the detective recounted.
Keandre Rodgers was also charged in the murder and robbery. Both he and Walker now face the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Jaquan was initially arrested but was never charged in the slaying.
After his younger brother was found in the barrel, former Mayor Jefferson Wagner told the Los Angeles Times that he thought it was a toxic waste container.
‘This is not what happens in Malibu,’ Wagner told the outlet, he added he was ‘deeply disturbed. This is not a common occurrence. I mean, bodies in a barrel is just sad.’
The next new trial date for Simmons has not been announced yet.