Guilty verdicts in Berkeley murder trial

The René C. Davidson Courthouse in downtown Oakland. Photo: Wally Gobetz
The René C. Davidson Courthouse in Oakland. Photo: Wally Gobetz

Alameda County District Attorney Nancy E. O’Malley announced Monday that a jury had found four defendants in the 2009 Berkeley murders of a college student who was home for the holidays, and two other bystanders who were caught in a high-speed car chase when the defendants fled from police, guilty of murder with gang enhancements.

O’Malley said Monday in a prepared statement that the jury found Stephon Anthony, Rafael Campbell, Samuel Flowers and Anthony Price guilty of first degree murder with gang enhancements, use of a gun, and special circumstances for the killing of Charles Davis. The defendants also were found guilty of two counts of second degree murder for the killings of Todd Perea and Floyd Ross Jr. Each defendant was also found guilty of two felony counts of causing death during the flight from a pursuing peace officer.

According to the statement, in May 2009, “North Side Oakland Gang and Berkeley’s Waterfront Gang were locked in an ongoing, increasingly violent feud.” On May 16, Anthony, Campbell, Flowers and Price — identified by O’Malley as North Side Oakland gang members — drove to 10th Street and Allston Way in Berkeley. Authorities said Flowers shot and killed Charles Davis, 25, a college student home for vacation and the brother of a rival gang member.

“The defendants fled to North Oakland in defendant Anthony’s Cadillac, leading Berkeley police officers on a high-speed chase through residential neighborhoods. The six-mile pursuit came to an end at the intersection of Aileen Street and Martin Luther King [Jr.] Way in Oakland, when the defendants ran a stop sign and flew through the intersection at an estimated speed of 60 miles per hour. They crashed into a car driven by Todd Perea, 27, as he drove home from volunteer work at a community center, killing him instantly. The defendants’ car pushed Perea’s car onto the sidewalk with such force that it hit and killed Floyd Ross Jr., 37, a pedestrian walking down the sidewalk on his way to visit his mother.”

Police arrested Anthony and Price as they tried to flee the scene, while Flowers and Campbell escaped into the neighborhood on foot. Flowers was arrested two weeks later in Florida. Campbell was caught in Sacramento six months after the murders and taken into custody.

“Criminal street gangs represent one of the greatest threats to the safety of our communities in Alameda County,” said prosecuting attorney Steve Dal Porto, according to Monday’s statement. “The North Side Oakland criminal street gang was dealt a major blow today. Four of its prominent members have been held accountable for the murder of three innocent victims.”

Said O’Malley: “This is a case in which the defendants displayed a callous and egregious disregard for human life. Starting with the premeditated murder of Charles Davis, the defendants’ wanton actions took the lives of three innocent victims that afternoon. Crimes like these that expose innocent members of our community to such extreme danger will be prosecuted and punished to the full extent of the law.”

O’Malley and Dal Porto expressed their condolences to the families of the victims, “who have lost their loved ones in this unthinkable tragedy. We would also like to extend our sincerest gratitude to the officers of the Berkeley Police Department and the Oakland Police Department, whose tireless investigation ensured that these defendants could be brought to justice.”

The defendants each face a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole upon their sentencing date of July 12.

Berkeleyside publishes many articles every day. To see all our stories in chronological order, and read ones you may have missed, check out our All the News grid.