Trio charged in 2019 murder of Anza man, 64

ANZA, Calif. — Authorities who are continuing to investigate the 2019 murder of an Anza man, today announced the arrest of three people now charged in connection with the victim’s death. The fatal shooting happened at the site of an illegal marijuana grow on the 39000 block of El Toro Rd., officials reported at the time of the murder.

Anza and its surrounding unincorporated communities within the Anza Valley have been the scene of numerous murders, body dumps, and shootings in recent years; several of which were determined to have been directly related to illegal marijuana grow sites.

Just a few of those deadly incidents involving more than a dozen people who were murdered over the last two years include a September 2020 shooting that left seven people dead at what was later determined to be an illegal marijuana cultivation site, a woman who was arrested in March 2020 after killing one woman and critically injuring another during a violent dispute, another 2020 incident involving a woman who was arrested after fatally shooting another woman, a son who murdered his father in 2019, a man who was found dead inside a bullet-riddled SUV on a rural Sage road, a 2019 double shooting that led to an hours-long SWAT standoff and arrest of five people, and the murder that same year of a man at an Anza residence which was just one of 120 Anza Valley properties suspected of illegal marijuana cultivation which were targeted for search warrants to be served by more than 700 area law enforcement officials from multiple agencies the very morning the man was found murdered. Two men were arrested in that case.


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Deputies and investigators from the Hemet Sheriff’s Station along with investigators from the Sheriff’s Central Homicide Unit began investigating the deadly incident Sunday, Nov. 3, after receiving reports of an early-morning shooting, Riverside Sheriff’s Sgt. Wallace Clear had previously reported.

When officials arrived at the scene they found a man dead inside the home. The victim has since been identified as 64-year-old, James Cidney Brown.

Clear had previously said the fatal encounter was the result of an attempted robbery after officials determined the location where the murder happened was “an illegal marijuana cultivation site”.

During their subsequent investigation members of the Sheriff’s Marijuana Eradication Team responded to the scene and confiscated all contraband on the property, Clear reported at the time.

Authorities today announced the arrest of three people in connection with the 2019 murder of James Brown, 64, of Anza. RSO booking photos

Over the last two years, investigators have continued to exhaustively work the case, developing leads and gathering information that ultimately led officials to identifying High Desert area residents James Max Robinson, 40, and Jesse Robert Thurbush, 40, as well as Jodi Lynn Miller, a 46-year-old Rancho Cucamonga woman, as being involved in Brown’s murder.

“As of April 27th, 2021, the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office has charged all three suspects with the murder of James Brown,” Clear said in today’s update. “Thurbush and Robinson are currently in custody on an unrelated charge in San Bernardino County. Miller is in custody in Riverside County for Brown’s murder.”

Clear did not specify what roles each of the accused was believed to have played in Brown’s murder.

Investigators believe there are additional outstanding suspects who were involved in Brown’s death and are continuing to seek the public’s help in identifying all those involved in the homicide.


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Anyone with information regarding this investigation is encouraged to call Investigator Deanne with the Central Homicide Unit at (951) 955-2777. Callers can refer to incident file number D193070025 and can remain anonymous. Citizens may also submit a tip using the Sheriff’s Homicide Tipline online form.

Contact the writer: [email protected]

Trevor Montgomery, 49, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source (RCNS) and Shasta County News Source (SCNS).

Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County-based newspapers Valley News, Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; the Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County; and Mountain Echo in Shasta County. He is also a regular contributor to Thin Blue Line TV and Law Enforcement News Network and has had his stories featured on news stations throughout the Southern California and North State regions.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 30 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 18 grandchildren.


  • Hello and Thank you for your devotion to so much but mostly, the children. I wish more people realized the jeapordy our kids face every day they walk out and away from the protective love of their families Sadly there are so many who don’t even have that which is why those like you and your wife deserve a very special place in Heaven. God bless you.
    Sir, as I’m sure you know, there is so much injustice in the world today that it’s hard to watch when we see one taking place especially when children are involved. I’m writing you because you covered the story but mainly because you appear to be connected. Jodi Miller couldn’t be involved with a murder. And she has been really struggling since her x husband was released from prison and teamed with his mother to take his children away from their mother. He has slandered her and discredited her to everyone including CPS and the police. She has been beside herself with grief. It seems there has been nothing she can do to convince those powers that be that despite many small past mistakes, she is a great mother. Now this… those kids will never see their mom again I fear. I don’t know what to do to help. please advise me. She is innocent I am sure. I cannot image her having any part in a murder. If there is anything you can do or suggest I do, I would certainly appreciate any advise or help you can offer.

    • Shannon Lee Shelton

      Listen up SUE. You’re wrong and BLIND AS WELL. You don’t know that monsters heart. I’m here to say she IS A MURDER AND NO WAY IN HELL DOES SHE DESERVE TO HAVE HER KIDS. HER SON WILL TELL YOU THAT HE STOPPED A KILL IN THEIR HOME BY MOM-O- THE- YEAR JODI MILLER. You dumb ignorant bleeding heart

    • Shannon Lee Shelton


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