Online Gambling Operator, Sex Offender Finally Convicted of Murder

Posted on: September 13, 2023, 07:20h. 

Last updated on: September 14, 2023, 06:15h.

An illegal online gambling operator from Bakersfield, Calif. murdered an associate in the business because he owed him money.

Darnell Lucifer Pierce, Leslie Grace Ahart, Mubarek Alnajar
Darnell Lucifer Pierce, pictured on his arrest in 2007 on suspicion of the rape and murder of Leslie Grace Ahart, of which he was controversially acquitted. (Image: Henry H Barios)

Darnell Lucifer Pierce, 41, was sentenced to 53 years to life in prison for Tuesday’s crime. He was found guilty in August of the first-degree murder of his business partner, Mubarek Alnajar, 30.

It’s the second time the defendant has been tried on a murder charge. In 2007, he was arrested for shooting 34-year-old Leslie Grace Ahart. Ahart’s body was discovered in the parking lot of Subaru School in Bakersfield with a single gunshot to the head.

Pierce’s DNA matched that found in Ahart’s mouth when she died. But he was acquitted of rape and murder when a jury accepted the argument that the evidence only proved he’d had sex with the victim, not that he murdered her.

Alnajar Killing

Pierce has an extensive rap sheet that includes indecent exposure and battery.

On January 13, 2021, he arranged to meet Alnajar in an alley in southwest Bakersfield, according to court documents. When Alnajar parked in the alley, Pierce approached his vehicle and fired a single shot into his face, per court filings. Alnajar was able to stagger out of his car and stumble for about 20 feet before collapsing and dying, prosecutors said.

Pierce was arrested a week later “with minimal force” and denied shooting Alnajar, whom he claimed was his friend.

I cannot think of a more appropriate sentence than life in prison for this defendant, who has been in and out of prison since 1995,” Supervising Deputy District Attorney Gina Pearl said,

Pierce “is a convicted sex offender five times over,” she added.

Convicted Sex Offender

While serving a term in Wasco State Prison in 2010, he exposed himself multiple times to female staff members, including a psychologist performing mental health exams.

Authorities believe Pierce was a member of the Country Boy Crips. In addition to indecent exposure, he has been convicted of felony spousal abuse, possession of drugs or alcohol while in jail, and failing to register as a sex offender.

He is due back in court in February.