Update, Jan. 17: Berkeleyside has been informed by a relative of murder victim Anthony Medearis III that the Alameda County district attorney’s office plans to seek the death penalty in the case against Darnell Williams Jr.
Original story, Jan. 13: The man authorities say gunned down a former friend he suspected of snitching to police has been ordered by an Alameda County Superior Court judge to stand trial.
After approximately three days of testimony, Darnell Williams Jr. was ordered to face 12 felony counts related to the murder of 22-year-old Anthony “Lil Tone” Medearis III of Berkeley last September, and the murder of an 8-year-old girl in Oakland last July.
“I’m happy as hell,” said Medearis’ aunt, Jackie Winters, after Judge C. Don Clay made his decision. “Justice,” she added.
In testimony heard Thursday, Berkeley Police Detective Shan Johnson said officers who responded to Medearis’ shooting on Sept. 8, 2013, found a trail of about 16 bullet casings left along the path along which Darnell Williams allegedly chased down Medearis after a dice game near Eighth and Camelia streets.
Johnson described what happened that day based on witness testimony from several people who were at or near the dice game.
It wasn’t quite clear how, but Johnson said Medearis and Williams ended up in a tussle of some kind, with Medearis overheard saying “Get outta my face.” Witnesses reported seeing a gun in Williams’ hand. The two men struggled over the gun, with Medearis alongside Williams, trying to keep the barrel pointed away from himself.
“Don’t shoot me,” he reportedly said twice. Then, “You don’t gotta kill me. You trippin’.”
The gun went off as both were still struggling over it, and Medearis tried to escape by running down a driveway, with Williams following him. A witness told police he heard what sounded like two “precision shots,” followed by a burst of about 10 gunshots.
According to Berkeley Police officer John Ettare, who testified last week, Medearis was conscious when Ettare first arrived after the report of gunshots. Medearis was lying face up on the sidewalk, but would not say who shot him.
“He said he was in pain,” said Ettare, but ignored questions about his assailant. “He lost consciousness right in front of me.”
Medearis was taken to the hospital with several gunshot wounds, in his chest, back and hand. He was pronounced dead a short time later.
1 held to answer in 8-year-old Oakland girl’s death, but charges dropped for second defendant
Judge Clay said Williams, 22, must face charges in the murder of 8-year-old Alaysha Carradine on July 17, 2013, which authorities have said was retribution for the killing earlier that day of Berkeley man Jermaine Davis.
The Alameda County district attorney’s office had also brought charges against Williams’ co-defendant Joseph Carroll Jr. Initially they said Carroll had had some role in plans that resulted in the little girl’s shooting, but evidence presented over the past week cast doubt on that theory.
Deputy district attorney John J. Brouhard announced late Monday morning, after testimony had concluded, that authorities were dismissing all charges in this case against Carroll “in the interest of justice.”
Cellphone GPS data placed Carroll in Antioch around the time of the girl’s shooting in Oakland.
Carroll’s attorney, H. Ernesto Castillo, acknowledged that the 27-year-old did confront another man — Antiown Ramon York, 25 — who was arrested last week on suspicion of killing Davis.
Carroll, Davis’ cousin, was described by one witness to that confrontation as “looking like he was a madman,” as the two men had a heated confrontation at an Antioch gas station.
But Castillo said, “There were never any threats to Antiown about killing him. He [Carroll] was really trying to figure out what the hell happened.”
When the judge confirmed that the charges against Carroll were dismissed, Castillo took hold of his client’s shoulder and shook it in congratulations.
A woman who identified herself as Jermaine Davis’ sister had come to court Monday to learn the outcome of the hearing. Of the dismissal of the charges against Carroll, she said, “Our family is relieved.”
Carroll will not be released however, as he and three other men are facing conspiracy to commit murder charges in a separate case against two unnamed males. They are set to enter pleas in that matter Monday afternoon.
According to court documents related to that case, Carroll reportedly enlisted the help of several friends to retaliate against two males he said disrespected him and his brother, Coleon Carroll. (Coleon Carroll is set to begin trial in connection with the 2010 killing of Gary Ferguson Jr. later this month.)
Williams will next return to court Jan. 28.
‘Snitch’ rumor leads to Berkeley dad’s murder (01.09.14)
2 testify in Berkeley murder hearing against Oakland man (01.08.14)
Breaking: Police announce arrest in Berkeley homicide (01.07.14)
Robbery attempt led to Medearis killing; 2 charged (10.01.13)
‘Ceasefire Walk Against Violence’ comes to West Berkeley (10.01.13)
Relatives remember Berkeley shooting victim ‘Lil Tone’ (09.10.13)
Man dies after shooting in West Berkeley (09.08.13)
Murdered man was brother of man killed by gangs in 2009 (07.18.13)
Breaking: Man shot and killed on Derby Street in Berkeley (07.17.13)
Berkeley community remembers teen slain in Oakland (05.08.13)
Berkeley police make second arrest in murder (11.01.10)
Shooting on Alcatraz Avenue (10.30.10)
Berkeley police arrest man suspected of murder (10.28.10)
Follow Berkeleyside on Twitter, and on Facebook. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Would you like the latest Berkeley news sent to your email inbox once a day? Click here to subscribe to Berkeleyside’s free Daily Briefing.