Suspects Face Murder Charges in Connection with Javonnta Murphy’s Tragic Death
By Dolores Quintana
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office has an update on the case of Javonnta Marshann Murphy, the man whose body was found in a black barrel in Malibu Lagoon.
On October 3, 2023, two individuals, Joshua Lee Simmons and Dennis Eugene Vance, were taken into custody in connection with the murder of Javonnta Marshann Murphy. Murphy’s lifeless body was discovered inside a barrel at Malibu Lagoon State Beach. An ensuing investigation revealed that Joshua Simmons was also involved in an Attempted Robbery in El Monte.
On October 5, 2023, both suspects were arraigned, and charges were formally filed. Joshua Lee Simmons, aged 37, faced multiple charges, including Murder (187 P.C.), Personal use of a firearm allegation (12022.58 P.C.), and Criminal Threats (422(a) P.C.). Additionally, he was charged with Attempted Robbery (664/211 P.C.) and two counts of Criminal Threats (422(a) P.C.). These charges were linked to an Attempted Robbery in El Monte that transpired on September 2, 2023. In the context of the Attempted Robbery, Simmons faced an additional charge of Personal Use of Bear Spray (12022(b)(1) P.C.).
Dennis Vance, 41 years old, was charged with one count of Accessory After the Fact (32 P.C.) in connection with Javonnta Murphy’s murder.
Both suspects were reported to be acquaintances of the victim. Presently, the motive behind this case remains unknown, and investigators are actively pursuing their inquiries. No further information is available at this time.
For those with any information concerning this incident, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau can be reached at (323) 890-5500. If you prefer to provide information anonymously, “Crime Stoppers” can be contacted at (800) 222-TIPS (8477). You can also use the “P3 Tips” Mobile App, available on Google Play and the Apple App Store, or visit the website http://lacrimestoppers.org.