Sentencing postponed again in Berkeley murder; convicted accomplice disputes identity of killer

Yellow tags marked the location of evidence at the 2010 shooting scene. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
Yellow tags marked the location of evidence at the 2010 shooting scene. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel

The attorney for a 27-year-old man found guilty earlier this year of a 2010 murder in Berkeley has filed a motion for retrial and plans to bring in new testimony from a convicted accomplice in the case to dispute her client’s guilt.

Coleon Carroll entered a no contest plea for voluntary manslaughter in February after authorities identified him as the getaway driver in the murder of Gary Ferguson Jr. and the attempted murder of Larry Belle as they talked on Sacramento Street in South Berkeley one morning about six years ago.

An Alameda County Superior Court jury found Brandon Wallace of Pittsburg guilty in March of being a shooter in that murder. The guilty verdict means he could spend more than 50 years in prison.

Read complete coverage of the case.


But Wallace’s sentencing has been delayed repeatedly since his conviction for murder, attempted murder and unlawful possession of a firearm March 21. A prior sentencing hearing was postponed because Wallace’s father was reportedly working out of state and wanted to attend.

Thursday, the hearing was postponed again, and it now won’t take place before Dec. 1.

Defense attorney Bonnie Narby told Judge Jon Rolefson she plans to bring in Carroll to say it was actually another man — his deceased cousin Jermaine Davis — who was at the shooting scene. (Davis and Wallace both had dreadlocks at the time of the murder.) Narby argued during Wallace’s trial that he was in another city during the Berkeley murder and was not the man responsible for it.

Authorities have said Wallace was shot accidentally by an accomplice during Ferguson’s murder, which they said was evident on surveillance footage of the killing. And his blood was found soaked into the front seat of the getaway vehicle.

Narby said her client was wounded when someone tried to rob him in Richmond, and shot him during the attempt.

Wallace himself took the stand to offer a description of his alibi in a rare move during the trial, which spanned about two weeks. He said his blood was in the vehicle due to a fight at a club in the weeks prior to the shooting. The jury did not ultimately find his account compelling enough to return a verdict of not guilty. They deliberated for less than two full days.

Carroll, at right, seen here with brothers Jermaine and Charles Davis, both of whom have since been killed in fatal shootings. Photo: Coleon Carroll/FB
Carroll, at right, seen here with brothers Jermaine and Charles Davis, both of whom have since been killed in fatal shootings. Carroll and the Davis brothers were cousins. Photo: Coleon Carroll/FB

According to Narby’s motion, which includes a declaration from Carroll, it was his own cousin Jermaine “Third” Davis — now deceased — and not Wallace who was with him on the day Ferguson was killed.


According to the motion, Carroll was driving around in a PT Cruiser with Davis when Davis told him to pull over. Davis got out of the vehicle with two other people. Carroll soon afterward heard gunshots, and the trio ran back to his car, according to the motion.

Carroll himself was sentenced on the day Wallace was convicted, and has reportedly said he wanted to testify in the case but feared it would invalidate his plea deal. Immediately following that sentencing, he reached out to Wallace’s defense team and said he had an urgent matter to discuss.

Rolefson scheduled the hearing on the motion for retrial for Dec. 1 because Carroll is in custody out of state, in an Arizona prison, and will need to be brought back to California to testify. That could take months, a sheriff’s deputy told the judge Thursday morning.

The hearing was brief, and took less than half an hour to resolve. It was done before 10 a.m.

The Dec. 1 hearing could take more than a day, attorneys and the judge agreed Thursday morning, and may spill over onto Dec. 2. The judge will evaluate whether Carroll’s testimony might have led to a different result in the case.

Stay tuned to Berkeleyside for continuing coverage.


Related:
Wallace found guilty in 2010 Berkeley murder (03.21.16)
Jury deliberations begin in 2010 Berkeley murder case (03.17.16)
Defense attorney: Berkeley detectives ‘rushed to judgment’ in murder case arrest (03.07.16)
Berkeley man takes plea deal in 2010 murder case (02.26.16)
Case dismissed in Jermaine Davis homicide (09.17.14)
4 with Berkeley ties held to answer in alleged murder plot (04.10.14)
1 held to answer in Berkeley murder of ‘Lil Tone’ (01.13.14)
Berkeley police make second arrest in murder (11.01.10)
Berkeley police arrest man suspected of murder (10.28.10)
Memorial set up for Berkeley slaying victim (10.28.10)
Another murder in Berkeley (10.26.10)

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