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Matthew Basler
Matthew Basler
Marvin Black.
Marvin Black.
Matthew Alexis Basler, also known as “Matty."
Matthew Alexis Basler, also known as “Matty."
Pastor Ron Armstrong, right, rises to his feet and lifts his hands during a memorial service for his son Ryan Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2008.
Pastor Ron Armstrong, right, rises to his feet and lifts his hands during a memorial service for his son Ryan Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2008.
James Fung
James Fung

Trio Sentenced for Murdering Pastor's Son


Tuesday, October 30th, 2012
Issue 44, Volume 16.


MURRIETA - Three men who ambushed and killed a college student, severely injured his friend and tried to harm another man following a confrontation in a Temecula bar were each sentenced today to more than 69 years in prison.

Matthew Alexis Basler, 34, Marvin Justin Black, 29, and James Wing Fung, 34, were convicted in November of the Dec. 26, 2008, slaying of 22-year-old Ryan Joshua Armstrong.

The young man's friend, Joel Ross, was stabbed multiple times, and another man was struck when he tried to intervene during the attack.

Each defendant was found guilty of first-degree murder, attempted murder, assault and sentence-enhancing weapons allegations. All of them have prior felony convictions.

Riverside County Superior Court Judge Angel Bermudez sentenced Basler to 69 years to life in prison; Black to 70 years to life; and Fung to 71 years to life.

"I'm glad for the victims' families that this is all over," Deputy District Attorney Brandon Smith told City News Service. "I hope this allows them to feel that some semblance of justice was served, knowing that these men are going where they belong."

According to the prosecution, Basler, Black and Fung -- all of San Diego -- went to E.T.'s Bar in Temecula on the same night Armstrong, Ross and about 10 of their friends went there to play pool.

The defendants and two girls were in the middle of a game when a young woman, apparently drunk, disrupted it.

Black yelled at the woman, causing her to tear up, at which point Armstrong rushed to her defense, according to Smith.

Armstrong and Basler exchanged words, the latter inviting the Chapman University student to step outside, which Armstrong declined to do. The two sides cooled down but were kicked out of the bar anyway.

Basler, his co-defendants and their two girlfriends piled into his pickup truck and started to leave the area, but Basler was still fuming, shouting, "I'm gonna (expletive) that guy up," according to Smith.

The defendant drove around until he found Armstrong, who was in a separate parking lot with three friends.

Basler, Black and Fung jumped out of the truck and pounced on Armstrong, stabbing the young man five times, including once in the heart.

Ross attempted to intervene and was stabbed four times in his side, causing him to collapse and black out. He never identified which of the defendants attacked him. Two other young men also tried to break up the attack, one of whom was struck and repelled by the defendants, Smith said.

Fung's blood-stained pocket knife was recovered at the scene.

Armstrong -- son of Ron Armstrong, founder of Wildomar-based Cornerstone Community Church -- died that night in a hospital.

The defendants were identified and arrested within a few days.

"They were all equally culpable," Smith told CNS. "They all decided to be a part of it, knowing that it was going to be more than a fistfight." MURRIETA - Three men who ambushed and killed a college student and severely injured his friend following a confrontation in a Temecula bar are expected to be sentenced today to 80 years to life in prison. Matthew Alexis Basler, 34, Marvin Justin Black, 29, and James Wing Fung, 34, were convicted in November of the Dec. 26, 2008, slaying of 22-year-old Ryan Joshua Armstrong and the stabbing of his friend, Joel Ross. Each defendant was found guilty of first-degree murder, attempted murder, assault and sentence-enhancing weapons allegations. According to prosecutors, Basler, Black and Fung -- all of San Diego -- went to E.T.'s Bar in Temecula on the same night Armstrong, Ross and about 10 of their friends went there to play pool. The defendants and two girls were in the middle of a game when a young woman, apparently drunk, disrupted it. Black yelled at the woman, causing her to tear up, at which point Armstrong rushed to her defense, according to a trial brief filed by Deputy District Attorney Brandon Smith. Armstrong and Basler exchanged words, the latter inviting the Chapman University student to step outside, which Armstrong declined to do. The two sides cooled down but were kicked out of the bar anyway. Basler, his co-defendants and their two girlfriends piled into his pickup truck and started to leave the area, but Basler was still fuming, shouting, "I'm gonna (expletive) that guy up," according to the brief. The defendant drove around until he found Armstrong, who was in a separate parking lot with three friends. Basler, Black and Fung jumped out of the truck and allegedly pounced on Amrstrong, stabbing the young man five times, including once in the heart, prosecutors said. Ross attempted to intervene and was stabbed four times in his side, causing him to collapse and black out. He never identified which of the defendants attacked him, according to the D.A.'s office. Fung's blood-stained pocket knife was recovered at the scene. Armstrong, the son of Ron Armstrong, founder of Wildomar-based Cornerstone Community Church, died that night in a hospital. The defendants were identified and arrested within a few days.


Trio Convicted of Killing Pastor's Son in Ambush Outside Bar MURRIETA - Three men who ambushed and killed a college student and severely injured his friend following a confrontation in a Temecula bar were convicted today of first-degree murder and other charges. Matthew Alexis Basler, 34, Advertisement
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Marvin Justin Black, 29, and James Wing Fung, 33, could each face more than 80 years to life in prison for the Dec. 26, 2008, slaying of 22-year-old Ryan Joshua Armstrong and the stabbing of his friend, Joel Ross. After four days of deliberations, a Murrieta jury found each of the defendants guilty of the murder count, as well as attempted murder, assault and sentence-enhancing weapons allegations. Riverside County Superior Court Judge Angel Bermudez set a sentencing hearing for Jan. 11. According to prosecutors, Basler, Black and Fung -- all of San Diego -- went to E.T.'s Bar in Temecula on the same night Armstrong, Ross and about 10 other friends went there to play pool. The defendants and two girls were in the middle of a game when a young woman, apparently drunk, disrupted it. Black yelled at the woman, causing her to tear up, at which point Armstrong rushed to her defense, according to a trial brief filed by Deputy District Attorney Brandon Smith. Smith said Armstrong and Basler exchanged words, the latter inviting the victim to step outside, which Armstrong declined to do. The two sides cooled down but were kicked out of the bar anyway. Basler, his co-defendants and their two girlfriends piled into his pickup truck and started to leave the area, but Basler was still fuming, allegedly shouting, "I'm gonna (expletive) that guy up," according to the brief. The defendant allegedly drove around until he found Armstrong, who was in a separate parking lot with three friends. Basler, Black and Fung jumped out of the truck and allegedly pounced on Armstrong, stabbing him five times, including once in the heart, according to prosecutors. Ross attempted to intervene and was stabbed four times in the side, causing him to collapse and black out. He never identified which of the defendants attacked him, according to the District Attorney's Office. Fung's blood-stained pocket knife was recovered at the scene, Smith said. Armstrong, a Chapman University student and the son of Ron Armstrong, founder of Wildomar-based Cornerstone Community Church, died that night in a hospital. The defendants were identified and arrested within a few days.
Jury Deliberations Under Way in Trial of Trio Accused of Killing Pastor's Son MURRIETA - Jurors were in the midst of their first full day of deliberations today in the trial of three men accused of killing a pastor's son following a confrontation in a Temecula bar that also left the young man's friend seriously injured. Matthew Alexis Basler, 34, Marvin Justin Black, 29, and James Wing Fung, 33, could each face more than 60 years in prison if convicted of first-degree murder, attempted murder and weapons allegations in the Dec. 26, 2008, slaying of 22-year-old Ryan Joshua Armstrong and the stabbing of his friend, Joel Ross. Each defendant is being held in lieu of $1 million bail at the Southwest Detention Center in Murrieta. Their nearly four-week trial wrapped up Monday with the completion of closing statements by their attorneys. The panel deliberated a few hours before adjourning for the day. According to prosecutors, Basler, Black and Fung -- all of San Diego -- went to E.T.'s Bar in Temecula on the same night Armstrong, Ross and about 10 other friends went there to play pool. The defendants and two girls were in the middle of a game when a young woman, apparently drunk and conversing with the victims, obliviously sat a cup of beer on the defendants' table. Black took the cup and tucked it into the woman's purse, chiding her, which caused her to tear up. Armstrong witnessed the incident and came to the woman's defense, according to a trial brief filed by Deputy District Attorney Brandon Smith. He said Armstrong and Basler exchanged words, the latter inviting the victim to step outside, which Armstrong declined to do. The two sides cooled down, but Basler, Black and Fung allegedly conspired to feign an olive branch in the hope of luring Armstrong out of the bar to beat him, according to court papers. The ruse failed, leading to a brief scuffle in the doorway facing the alley, at which point bar bouncers threw all of the parties out, making them go their separate ways, Smith said. Basler, his co-defendants and their two girlfriends piled into his pickup truck and started to leave the area, but Basler was still fuming, allegedly shouting, "I'm gonna (expletive) that guy up," according to the brief. The defendant allegedly drove around until he found Armstrong, who was in a separate parking lot with three friends. Basler, Black and Fung jumped out of the truck and allegedly pounced on Amrstrong, stabbing the young man five times, including once in the heart, according to prosecutors. Ross attempted to intervene and was stabbed four times in the side, causing him to collapse and black out. He never identified which of the defendants attacked him, according to the D.A.'s office. Fung's blood-stained pocket knife was recovered at the scene, Smith said. Armstrong, a Chapman University student and the son of Ron Armstrong, founder of Wildomar-based Cornerstone Community Church, died that night in a hospital. Based on eyewitness statements, including from the two women who were with them, the defendants were identified and arrested within a few days.


 

7 comments

Comment Profile ImageVincent
Comment #1 | Monday, Dec 10, 2012 at 6:42 am
Like in Hollywood movies, always a GIRL that starts trouble. The defendant's reaction justified for her silly behavior. Concerning Armstrong, that's what happens when you try to "whiteknight" and 'come to the rescue'.
Comment Profile ImageDaisy Lou
Comment #2 | Friday, Jan 11, 2013 at 3:50 pm
Vincent must be a friend of these dirt bags.
Comment Profile Imageyeah
Comment #3 | Friday, Jan 11, 2013 at 7:10 pm
That's what happens...? Three cowards gang up on you and kill you... that's "what happens" when you try to look out for someone? Idiot. You sound like you would do the same thing. So if I stand up for a femaile friend, you are going to stab me too, coward.
Comment Profile Imageroute 66
Comment #4 | Saturday, Jan 12, 2013 at 3:16 am
Stay out of trashy pool parlor/bars. These animals unfortunately get to live.. fortunatley..it will be in the HELLish nightmare of daily prison life.
Comment Continued : The comment above was written from the same location.
Post Continued
Comment Profile Imageroute 66
Comment #5 | Saturday, Jan 12, 2013 at 3:16 am
Stay out of trashy pool parlor/bars. These animals unfortunately get to live.. fortunatley..it will be in the HELLish nightmare of daily prison life.
Comment Profile ImagePreston
Comment #6 | Saturday, Mar 16, 2013 at 9:16 am
And now We the People will pay for their Room, Board, Medical, TV, Gym etc. Why? Because we vote to.
Sorry, but I would not spend ten cents on these three.
Comment Profile ImageMeghann
Comment #7 | Sunday, Mar 9, 2014 at 11:37 am
Sorry but I know one of the defendants and he does not act rashly or without consideration. It could be hard to tell with something that took less than a minute I feel like this is just wasted youth all the way around. Much love JWF

Article Comments are contributed by our readers, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Valley News staff. The name listed as the author for comments cannot be verified; Comment authors are not guaranteed to be who they claim they are.

 

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