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Three Found Guilty in Temecula Death of Wildomar Pastor's Son

James Fung, Marvin Black and Matthew Basler all face 80 years to life when sentenced next year.

A jury Tuesday found three San Diego men guilty of murder in the stabbing death of a Wildomar pastor's son outside a Temecula bar.

James Fung, Marvin Black and Matthew Basler all face 80 years to life in prison when they are sentenced in the death of Ryan Armstrong, 22, whose father leads the congregation at Cornerstone Community Church.

They were also found guilty of attempted murder in the stabbing of Armstrong's friend, Joel Ross.

The jury did not find the men guilty of assault with a deadly weapon, opting instead to convict the three on a simple assault charge each.

Riverside County Superior Court Judge Angel Bermudez set sentencing for Jan. 11.

The verdict came after about four full and two partial days of deliberations, questions, readback of testimony and even a request to examine evidence.

Jurors indicated they had verdicts before the lunch recess, court records indicate.

The stabbings occurred outside ET's Sports Lounge in Temecula about 10:45 p.m. Dec. 26, 2008. Armstrong died at a hospital; Ross recovered from his wounds.

According to prosecution testimony, Armstrong was the peacemaker when an argument broke out earlier in the evening.

Witness testimony indicated that after things had seemingly settled down following an argument over a beer cup placed on a pool table, Armstrong was dragged to the back door by one or more of the defendants.

The defendants were thrown out but later drove around to the alley

The prosecution contends that the defendants jumped out of a truck and viciously attacked Armstrong and his friend.

The defense maintains that the defendants were swarmed by a large group and merely fought to free themselves of the melee.

Pastor Ron Armstrong of Cornerstone Community Church in Wildomar is Armstrong's father.

censored messenger November 09, 2012 at 09:19 PM
Black no longer has any need for friends on the outside; he is a ghost... Our society is free of him.....WINNING! It would suit the three of them to go down this path together, for they are bros.... Bros to the end...and a new life in a more martial environment. Win-Win situation
AWags November 09, 2012 at 09:29 PM
A.Juror...I want to thank you again for your service and your time. It was hard on you all. Thank you!
A. Juror November 09, 2012 at 09:42 PM
You are welcome, AWags, and I am confident in knowing we followed the law and did what was required of us.
Brenda November 09, 2012 at 09:49 PM
Exactly AJ, and thankfully not even his family will ever know everything that went on that night. Which is best in my opinion. AJ, thank you for answering questions for some us and there was never any doubt that the jury came back with the right verdict. Statements here by others do make it seem that a girlfriend or two should have been charged accordingly also. Like you say its time to put it to rest and move on, its finally over after so many years. Thank you again and hopefully your number doesnt come up again anytime soon.
Rachel November 09, 2012 at 09:52 PM
A. Juror- Thank you again for your service, I know our streets are safer now thanks to all the jurors following the law and reviewing all the evidence. God bless all involved! Rip Ryan may you be in heaven at peace!
AWags November 09, 2012 at 10:14 PM
A. Juror. I am sorry there are people that want to bully you who dont agree with the verdict. Stick to knowing that you did your job, and you did what you were supposed to do. People who dont have the evidence and were not there go off of hear say. You had the evidence and it took 12 people 5 days to do this. They didnt think lightly of there jobs...they took it very seriously. And did what they were supposed to do. Either way you would have received grief so to you and the other jurors you did a great job. Thank you for taking your time on your decision.
Brenda November 09, 2012 at 10:24 PM
Exactly Rachel. Its hard for most of us to understand the laws, the punishments until you actually get on a case like this as a juror or you are in the legal field. That is why I can understand Blacks comments to a point and until she does alot of research into the laws she will not understand and continue to be very angry and devastated. If this was my son I would be too and I do have some law knowledge. These jurors were picked very meticulously as both sides stated and everyone had complete faith they would return the correct verdict and they did.
Brenda November 09, 2012 at 10:38 PM
Its probably just family members finding a place to vent which is completely normal in a situation like this. They will hate everyone, and everyone is wrong. Its a very sad situation for everyone involved as all cases are. A.J. don't let any of the mean stuff get to you and again thank you for coming to speak to us, it was very gracious of you.
Constant Comment November 09, 2012 at 10:46 PM
@Diana, everyone is either still celebrating or still hungover! You know...The Infamous Bridgette Brigade! HA! Then theres the Measure Z victory, Jefferies, Magee, etc....probably out spending all their bonus bucks! }~)
Pac man November 09, 2012 at 10:48 PM
Brenda I am not a famliy member and have grown up in and around those whose employment is within Law and its Enforcement my entire life. I do not understand the decision the jury reached with regard to Black and as such do not accept his Guilty verdict as being a fair verdict
Constant Comment November 09, 2012 at 10:53 PM
I'm with you on that Brenda. All you can do is raise your own kids. It is not possible to raise everyone elses too. All you can do is hope that they don't end up hanging out with idiots & find themselves in such a horrific position. Influence is such a powerful thing...you just pray that your influence is stronger than the bad guys! }~(
Pac man November 09, 2012 at 10:55 PM
AWAGS - stating an opinion is Bullying - Really ?
Brenda November 09, 2012 at 10:59 PM
Pac Man, and thank God we are all entitled to our opinions in this country. Unless I was on the jury and know all the facts as the jurors, Attorneys did, I cannot even argue the fact of those three being innocent or guilty with anyone. I can say I believe the verdict was correct and that the juror's definately did what was required of them. That being based on just the information I do know, not all the thousands and thousands of more evidence that was presented in the trial that none of us laymen know. If there are questions as to his being guilty or not he has resources he can now take to prove his innocence.
Brenda November 09, 2012 at 11:03 PM
Roberto, Now what would the DA and Judge have to gain by doing what you are stating? Or, why would they even bother to go to that extreme? It takes alot longer to convict someone then to let them go for lack of evidence. You do not make a bit of sense here. Also in your reference to the Juror's both sides said they were extremely happy with the selection of the Juror's that were meticulously picked by both sides!
Pac man November 09, 2012 at 11:04 PM
Brenda we will agree to disagree on Blacks verdict but agree to agree on Basler and Fung. I do not have alot of faith in the appeal process and as such fear that Black will unjustly, (my opinion), spend the rest of his life in jail.
Roberto November 09, 2012 at 11:04 PM
Guilty and heinious? Yes, but not to the same degree. That is impossible unless your a DA & Judge in Riverside County trying to sensationalize a case. I wouldn't expect a juror of average intelligence to see through the sham. The DA & Judge are cons at presenting evidence in the light they would like you duped to auto convict. There is no way these three convicted are guilty to the same degree other than the sensationalization of the case.
Brenda November 09, 2012 at 11:10 PM
Yep CC, and as you replied to this I was thinking about just how many kids I have tried to help over the years. Other parents kids who could not do anything with them. Some I did ok with, others over time and getting tired of being "sweet" would end up repeating the same behavior and end up also dragging my daughters into it, as you say the influence of others ie idiots is hard to fight. So at some point in raising my daughters I stopped trying to save everyone elses. It has been hard enough with my own 5 I can tell you. All 5 have went all different ways but thank God good jobs, college are a part of most of them, and staying out of legal or criminal trouble, and hopefully keeping good credit!! LOL :)
Michael November 09, 2012 at 11:12 PM
Why the heck is a religous guys son at a bar in the first place? If your dad is a pastor wouldn't you stay away from bars. Because now he is in heaven but the last thing he did on earth was go to a bar. God must not be very happy. But, I am sorry about the death. I still don't know if I agree with Marvin being convicted or not. I will just let you guys argue that and will just keep my opinion neutral while you guys argue.
Roberto November 09, 2012 at 11:18 PM
This is pathetic, You give an opposing virew and your are either related, know the guys, hate law enforcement etc. etc. I say you have to be blind not to see this case was tried the way it was for political reasons that have nothing to do with justice. Jurors are just the dupes used to accomplish this.
BLACK November 09, 2012 at 11:23 PM
Can A. Juror please explain how they came to guilty on murder for Marvin . Please help us understand how. Please. Thank you
BLACK November 09, 2012 at 11:29 PM
Marvin guilty of murder it just isn't right not at all. Family or not it's about what's right. This was a high profile political case from the beginning. The DA knows Marvin is innocent too he just grouped Marvin in with the others so he could have one more conviction win for the county of riverside'
Chad November 10, 2012 at 05:16 PM
black joined in on assaulting ryan, he may not have used the knife, but none the less the assault he committed resulted in the death of another human being. the damage done to ryan was inflicted upon him by all 3 accused. black helped in hurting him whether or not it was with a weapon and now a father had to bury his son. and to those poking jokes about ryan being at a bar although he is a pastors son..what does that even matter? I personally have shared drinks with off duty cops, and all walks of life at a bar, everyone is entitled to go have a drink, and he didn't leave the bar because he wasnt the one who was kicked out of the bar..
Common sense November 10, 2012 at 11:06 PM
If Armstrong was such a peacemaker why did he follow these three men to the back of the bar? If he wasn't kicked out why did he go outside when he could have stayed inside and avoided the whole situation? Do any of you believe that these men would have been found guilty if one of their fathers was a pastor?
Curious November 11, 2012 at 05:22 AM
@Black, It sounds like you may know or are "Baby Mama". Can you explain why Black was at a bar, drinking, and with his "girlfriend" and two other career criminals. Sounds like this child has never had a Dad and hopefully someday a mature man can be that father figure. Also nevermind the fact that Armstrong's DNA was on Black's gloves knuckes. Nevermind the fact that Black tried to destroy evidence. Nevermind the fact he fled the scene. Nevermind the fact that witnesses pointed out his mohawk and assaulting a helpless man. And NEVERMIND the fact that Black is a compulsive LIAR!!!! And nevermind the fact California has the felony Murder law. And I am pretty sure Black was reprsented during any plea bargain and shame on him for not taking a early deal. It sounds like Black is the true victim here.....sure.....I guess that makes it okay to cuss out a Judge as well.
You wish you knew November 12, 2012 at 05:54 PM
He actually has two young daughters ....but that is the life he chose to live!
A. Juror November 13, 2012 at 05:36 AM
I hope I can help you understand. We had to listen to all the testimony carefully AND had a lot of it read back to us so we could take further notes and refresh our memories. We carefully reviewed it all and then read, read and re-read the law and jury instructions. We all wanted to do the right thing and did not take this lightly. None of us felt any prejudice against the defendants. The situation was this regarding aiding and abetting (which we had to follow and the law is clear) - if the defendant helps a perpetrator commit a crime, he is also found guilty of the crime at the same degree. I know this doesn't sound fair, however, the jury could not rewrite the law or reinterpret it. Marvin decided to get out of the car, kick and stomp one of the victims in the head after he had been stabbed, had blood of the deceased and the other stabbing victim on the knuckles of his gloves (not just anywhere on the gloves, but the knuckles), as well as some other, lesser evidence. I hope this helps you understand. I am sorry for your pain - there are no winners in this situation and our hearts go out to EVERYONE involved. We, under the law, and with the evidence presented to us, could not find otherwise. I didn't want to further comment on this, but I read your plea and do feel your pain - I hope this helps you understand.
A. Juror November 14, 2012 at 12:15 AM
He didn't follow them - he went back there with friends and the defendants THEN drove back there. Also, he was, in fact, kicked out of the bar along with one of the defendants. The fact that the father was a pastor NEVER once was brought up during our deliberations and made no difference to us whatsoever.
DeannaLHL November 19, 2012 at 07:45 PM
It doesn't say in the Bible that you must obstain from alcohol. Pastor Ron Armstrong said that in his sermon just yesterday.
Michael November 20, 2012 at 10:04 PM
Actually funny enough. King James version says in Luke 1:15 "For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither WINE nor strong drink..." and I don't know about dictionary or anyone else's but in my dictionary alcohol is worse than wine so if you shouldn't drink wine than you shouldn't drink alcohol. And strong for me includes red bull, monster, alcohol, HIGHLY caffeinated drinks when I say that I don't mean coke or that soda just really strong drinks. And in some cases a lot of coffee.
Michael November 20, 2012 at 10:05 PM
And that's king James version so it might be different in your bible.

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