East Bay hate-crime slaying has musician’s kin seeking justice

East Bay hate-crime slaying has musician’s kin seeking justice Daniel Porter-Kelly, 31, of Richmond, was arrested Nov. 16 and charged with murder, robbery and the special circumstance of committing a racially motivated crime, which could bring the death penalty if he is convicted. Contra Costa County sheriff’s investigators believe Porter-Kelly and two other men — Ray Simons, 32, of Hercules, and Daniel Ortega, 31, of Novato — attacked and killed Sims outside a nearby pool hall. Porter-Kelly’s Berkeley-based defense attorney, Seth Morris, declined to talk about the case. The death shocked and horrified relatives and friends of Sims, a singer, guitarist and piano player who was described as a generous, friendly man who never harmed anyone. “He was a very kind and loving person,” said his sister, Stacey Sims, 33, who lived with her brother and parents in a neat suburban home in a quiet subdivision in eastern Richmond. A table with graduation pictures, cards and a basket of flowers was in the living room, where their son regularly played a baby grand piano. Investigators believe Sims was inside the Capri Club — a pool hall and bar in the 4100 block of Appian Way in El Sobrante — in the early morning hours of Nov. 12 when the suspects jumped, robbed, beat and then shot him as he attempted to escape. Sims, who worked in retail, had no gang ties or criminal history, said Jimmy Lee, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office. Police have been searching for Simons and Ortega since Friday, when they raided the condominium in Novato owned by Ortega’s 54-year-old mother, Renee Brown. Anthony Rayford, 39, a local construction worker, said he was friends with the suspects and would sometimes employ them. Murphy said Sims and he were singing karaoke at the Captain’s Chest Cocktail Lounge in Concord on the night he died. Sims was, by all accounts, an accomplished musician whose singing voice was a deep, sexy bass. The group had won several awards and had been a featured attraction at festivals like the Reno Jazz Festival and the Next Generation Jazz Festival in Monterey. Stephanie Rios, a member of the singing group, said they all became a big family in the music department at Contra Costa College.

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