Los Angeles Police Department offers large reward in couple’s murder

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In the early morning hours of August 4, Jerriell and Sulema Wilborn were driving near the intersection of Slauson Avenue and Main Street. As they pulled through the intersection, the couple was shot multiple times by gunfire coming from outside of their car.

To avoid further shots, 51-year-old Sulema Wilborn accelerated the car forward until she lost control, crashing into a nearby pole on the freeway off ramp in South Park. At 3:43 a.m., just minutes later, officials at the scene announced the couple had died.

image The Wilborns were well-known in South Los Angeles, as Sulema was a long-time activist who worked for celebrity lawyer Thomas Mesereau’s legal clinic and 49-year-old Jerriell worked with The Wrecking Crew Church’s community outreach program.

“If something happened, she was always there,” said Sulema’s daughter Ursila Ventura, reflecting on her mother’s death. “I could call her on anything, from the smallest to the biggest thing.”

After seven months, Los Angeles Police Department investigators David Torres and Louie Calzadillas have not found any suspects connected with the case. Family members have tried to come to peace with the loss of the couple.

“My uncle never had any enemies because he was a straight-forward person,” Jerriell’s niece Trisha Wilborn said. “People loved him, different cultures loved him.”

“We know where she is at even if it doesn’t take away what was done,” Christina Reyes, daughter of Sulemma, said. “I pray that whoever, whether you are one person or three people, will not have any peace.”

With the help of the Los Angeles City Council and Councilwoman Jan Perry, the police department announced today that a $75,000 reward would be offered to anyone with information leading to the identification and apprehension of any suspects in the case.

It is unclear whether the double-homicide was gang-motivated, but officials believe fear could be a factor as to why the community has not come forward with new information.

“The reason we are putting [the reward] out now is because we have been trying to work with as much information as we do have,” Calzadillas said. “We are putting it out to the community, and hopefully they will come forward with some more information to help us with the investigation.”

The hefty reward will be in effect for the next six months following today’s announcement.