The masked men who murdered Darrin Ezell didn't have to force their way into his apartment.
Instead, detectives say they kidnapped his girlfriend after she left for work and used her keys to let themselves inside.
The men confronted Ezell and shot him before leaving.
A 3-year-old and a 7-year-old, the children of Ezell's girlfriend, were in the apartment and heard the deadly shots.
As the the 19th anniversary of Ezell's murder approaches, FOX 12 has learned three suspects have been indicted for the killing.
Adrian Stafford faces 12 counts of aggravated murder and four counts of murder, according to Portland police.
Selwyn Stafford and Vinson White were each indicted on eight counts of aggravated murder and four counts of murder, police said.
The Stafford brothers are currently serving federal prison sentences for drug-related charges. White is currently serving a drug-related prison sentence in Washington.
A fourth suspect, Danny Conner, was arrested in April of this year.
He has pleaded not guilty to murder charges.
Ezell was killed on December 20, 1995 in his apartment in the 9300 block of SE Ramona St.
“We believe he was killed in an attempt to get an amount of cash out of his apartment that they in fact did not recover,” said Det. James Lawrence, with the Portland Police Bureau's Cold Case Homicide Unit. “There's evidence that the defendants tried to find it, but they were unable to find it.”
The 24-year-old was involved in low-level drug dealing and was known to have large amounts of cash for different business ventures, according to Lawrence.
Adrian Stafford, Selwyn Stafford, White and Conner are documented gang associates, according to police. While Ezell was friends with documented gang members, police never documented him as a gang member.
Lawrence said tips helped the original investigators identify potential suspects two months after Ezell was killed, but they were unable to get witness statements necessary to charge them with his murder.
Last December, cold case detectives began working with Multnomah County prosecutors to focus on witnesses. Some found the courage to testify.
The case underscores the importance of people providing information to investigators.
“We're never going to be close to the people that commit these crimes and talk about it in private conversations," said Lawrence. “So we need those people to come forward in order to make arrests.”
If you have any information about this crime, contact Lawrence at 503-823-0867 or James.Lawrence@PortlandOregon.gov
You can also leave a Crime Stoppers tip online at crimestoppersoforegon.com, text CRIMES (274637) and in the subject line put 823HELP, followed by your tip, or call 503-823-HELP (4357) and leave your tip information.
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