LAPD Detectives Announce the Arrest of a Murder Suspect NA15028jr

February 26, 2015

WHAT: News Conference

WHEN: Thursday, February 26, 2015 10:00 a.m.

WHERE: 77th Street Community Police Station (Community Room) 7600 South Broadway Los Angeles, California 90003

WHO: LAPD Captain Peter Whittingham, Commanding Officer, Criminal Gang Homicide Division. LAPD Detective Christopher Barling, 77th Homicide Coordinator LAPD Criminal Gang Homicide Division Detectives Family members of Victim Deshawnda Sanchez

WHY: On Wednesday, December 3, 2014, around 4:00 a.m., Deshawnda Sanchez (a transgender female) called for assistance stating that she had just been assaulted and robbed in the 6100 block of South Wilton Place. While making the call, she stated the suspect had returned and shots were heard over the telephone. Additional calls from neighbors also came in as they reported hearing shots fired. Officers and paramedics responded to the scene and Sanchez was found dead.

Los Angeles Police Criminal Gang Homicide Detectives identified Inglewood resident Robert James Spells, a 30 year-old male Black, as the suspect responsible for Sanchez’s murder. The Operation South Bureau Human Trafficking Task Force also identified Spells as the suspect in a human trafficking investigation of an 11-year old female which occurred on February 8, 2015. On Wednesday, February 25, 2015, around 4:00 p.m., Spells was taken into custody at a relatives’ residence in the city of Los Angeles by the Pacific Southwest U.S. Marshall Task Force.

Detectives will provide an update and release a photograph of the suspect.

Anyone with information on this crime is urged to call 77th Division Criminal Gang/Homicide Detectives at (213) 485-1383. During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7. Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477). Tipsters may also contact Crimestoppers by texting to phone number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone. All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.” Tipsters may also go to, click on “webtips” and follow the prompts. Anyone with information is asked to call Criminal Gang/Homicide Division, Detective Eric Crosson or Sam Arnold at (213) 485-1383. During off-hours or on weekends, call the 24-hour toll free number at 1-877-LAWFULL (529-3855).