Berkeley homicide suspect arrested in San Diego

A small memorial was set up in West Berkeley near the site of Zontee Jones' death earlier this year. Photo: Emilie Raguso

Mourners set up a small memorial in West Berkeley in February near the site of Zontee Jones’ death. Photo: Emilie Raguso

A 21-year-old man named by authorities as one of two people responsible for the killing of Zontee Jones in West Berkeley in February was arrested in San Diego earlier this month.

According to San Diego Police Lt. Jorge Duran, Maurice Thomas Jr. was arrested in San Diego on July 4 on suspicion of being under the influence of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance. 

During the booking process, said Duran on Thursday, police ran a routine records check at the jail and discovered that Thomas was wanted in connection with the Jones homicide.

According to Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats, Thomas was transported to Alameda County and booked into Santa Rita Jail in Dublin on July 15.

Thomas is scheduled to enter a plea, post-arraignment, on Aug. 5 at the Rene C. Davidson Courthouse in downtown Oakland. He has been charged with murder and intentional discharge of a firearm.

On June 16, police arrested a second defendant, Jevon Calland, 21, in connection with the Feb. 4 shooting of 34-year-old Zontee Jones, on Delaware Street just west of San Pablo Avenue.

Calland — who has been charged with murder and being armed with a firearm — is being held without bail and has a pretrial hearing set for Sept. 13 at the Rene C. Davidson Courthouse.

According to court documents filed by the Berkeley Police Department, Calland threatened Jones the day before the murder, and made a plan with several other people to hurt him.

“Calland engaged the victim in a physical confrontation and … other persons assisted him. During the confrontation the victim was shot and killed,” police wrote.

According to the documents, police said forensic evidence “supports the conclusion that Thomas shot the victim.”

Police said Calland was captured on video participating in the murder, and was identified by multiple witnesses at the scene, who said he was running from the scene after the murder.

Jones was Berkeley’s first homicide of 2013. On July 17, Jermaine Davis was killed on Derby Street, near Martin Luther King Jr. Way. Police have not released any information about suspect descriptions or arrests related to the Davis case at this time.

2 men named in Berkeley murder case; details emerge (06.19.13)
Berkeley police make arrest in Zontee Jones murder (06.19.13)
Police arrest Oakland woman in Berkeley homicide (02.26.13)
West Berkeley neighbors ask for answers after homicide (02.20.13)
Berkeley police make arrests related to two Berkeley homicides (02.14.13)
Police name Zontee Jones as year’s first Berkeley homicide (02.06.13)
Man shot dead in Berkeley, first homicide of 2013 (02.04.13)
City of Berkeley offers reward to find ‘Cowboy’ killer (12.20.12)

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  • Truth Sayer

    If I am not mistaken, regardless who fired the weapon, all of them conspired to harm the person. And, because the results may not have been the intended outcome, it doesn’t matter legally who fired the fatal shot.

  • TN

    I’d like to ask once again that the Berkeley Police Department and the DA to let the rest of us know whether this murder was an individual event or whether it was a part of a longer dispute between groups of people.

  • Chris J

    Don’t see the harm in that revelation. Gang related? Not sure how it makes any difference to the public to know this or not…we know there are gangs and we know there are criminals and violent nutcases out there already.

  • Chris J

    Yah, if I’m a hitchhiker and get in a car with a drunk driver who then kills a pedestrian, I’m strictly, legally seen as culpable as the driver. It’s not justice…it’s the law.

    As for this case, conspiracy laws would apply maybe.

  • Truth Sayer

    You are incorrect, as there is a difference between involuntary and voluntary manslaughter, and robbery. As the intent is to commit a crime with a weapon (Note: even if you were part of a robbery, and took no weapon, and a person was killed as a result of the robbery, the penalty is the same as if you had a gun). I think that the situation will be different if you are the owner of the vehicle, and allowed a drunk to drive your car.