Tag Archives: Alameda County District Attorney Nancy E. O’Malley

Crime

4 with Berkeley ties held to answer in alleged murder plot

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Four men with Berkeley ties have been held to answer by an Alameda County Superior Court judge on charges that they conspired to murder two rivals last fall.

The alleged victims in the investigation grew up in West Berkeley, according to court testimony. At least one of them attended Berkeley High, according to his Facebook profile.

The preliminary hearing against 27-year-old Joseph Carroll Jr., 36-year-old Emando Roos, 28-year-old Travon Wilson and 28-year-old Joseph Connors wrapped up Wednesday after more than a month of intermittent testimony and legal arguments.

According to authorities, who recorded phone calls among the men as part of an Oakland Police wiretap investigation last fall, the intended targets of the alleged murder plot had disrespected Carroll and two of his relatives in YouTube videos and photographs on Instagram. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Alleged murder plot hearing set to end this week

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Update, April 1, 4 p.m. Judge Vernon Nakahara scheduled a decision in the matter for April 9 at 4 p.m.

Original story, April 1: A hearing to determine whether the prosecution has made its case against four men alleged to have conspired to kill a man who posted disrespectful videos and pictures online is set to wrap up in Alameda County Superior Court this week.

Tuesday morning, closing arguments are scheduled to begin at the René C. Davidson Courthouse in downtown Oakland in the case against 27-year-old Joseph Carroll Jr.; Emando Roos, 36; Travon Wilson, 28; and Joseph Connors, 28. All four men, along with two alleged victims identified in the investigation, grew up in Berkeley, according to testimony last week.

Alameda County deputy district attorney Luis Marin has argued that Carroll tried to coordinate two acts of violence against one of the intended victims in Oakland last September. Carroll was in Texas at the time of the alleged attack plans, but authorities had tapped his phone lines as part of a high-profile murder investigation involving an 8-year-old girl who was gunned down at a sleepover last July.

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Crime

4 men with Berkeley ties face murder plot charge

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A man from West Berkeley’s waterfront neighborhood has been in court with three associates before a Superior Court judge since last week after authorities say they tried twice to murder a man who disrespected him and his brother in videos posted on YouTube, as well as his cousin, who was killed in Berkeley last summer, on photography website Instagram.

Defense attorneys have argued that the case against the men is weak, and was blown out of proportion due to its initial connection to the high-profile fatal shooting of a young girl. The evidence against the men is based largely on surveillance and wiretap recordings of slang-ridden conversations that defense attorneys claim consisted more of tough talk than any actual murder plot.

On two dates in September, police say the men planned to shoot a man in Oakland who had been disrespectful in a rap song and other online videos. On both occasions, police responded to the area and say their presence stopped violence from occurring. Authorities said they recorded the group’s plans during a wiretap operation by the Oakland Police Department that started as part of the investigation into the death of 8-year-old Alaysha Carradine in Oakland last summer. During that wiretap operation, police said they discovered the group’s plans and began a separate investigation into the alleged conspiracy. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Alleged Berkeley wedding ring robber arrested, charged

Over the past six months, there have been at least six reported robberies at Woolsey and Tremont streets in Berkeley, and six others in the immediate vicinity. Image: CrimeMapping.com
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Authorities have charged an Oakland man — reported to have taken a wedding ring off a man’s finger while holding a gun on him during a robbery in South Berkeley in mid-January — with three felony counts, according to court records.

Damien Scipio, 21, has been charged with second-degree robbery and grand theft, two counts, by the Alameda County district attorney’s office. (He also was identified in court papers as Damienantonio Nickalai Scipio.) Berkeley Police picked up Scipio at his West Oakland home on a warrant Jan. 23, which stemmed from their investigation into a robbery near the Ashby BART station the prior week.

In that case, the victim told Berkeleyside he had been walking home into North Oakland when three men robbed him near Woolsey and Tremont streets in South Berkeley shortly after 8 p.m. on Jan. 14. One man, later identified as Scipio, held a gun on him, while the other men held his arms and took his property. After taking his phone and his bag, the men walked away and told him to walk in the other direction. But then the man with the gun came back and took the victim’s wedding ring off his finger, at the urging of his accomplices. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Dispute over woman led to Berkeley man’s murder

A small memorial was set up in West Berkeley near the site of Zontee Jones' death early last year. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Two cousins are slated to face murder charges in the shooting death in West Berkeley last year of Zontee Jones after an Alameda County Superior Court judge’s ruling this week.

After a short hearing, which included testimony from two witnesses Wednesday morning, Judge Trina Thompson said the district attorney’s office had presented enough evidence for the murder case against 22-year-old Maurice Thomas Jr. to move forward to trial.

Authorities allege that Thomas shot Jones, 34, on Feb. 4, 2013, at Delaware Street west of San Pablo Avenue after an argument between Jones and Jevon Calland, a mutual acquaintance and the first cousin of Thomas. Calland, 21, has also been charged with murder, and was ordered last July to face those charges. He entered a “not guilty” plea a short time later. He had been arrested in Antioch several weeks prior.

Thomas was arrested by police in San Diego in connection with two drug-related violations July 4, and has been in custody since then. He had been picked up near the crime scene and held by police for several days immediately after the Jones murder, but ultimately was released, according to court records. Both men are being held without bail in different areas at Santa Rita Jail, according to the Alameda County sheriff’s department.

According to testimony this week by Calland’s sister, Jewaya Calland, who is also Thomas’ first cousin, Calland and Jones had been involved in an on-going dispute about Calland’s girlfriend. That woman had dated Jones approximately five years prior, according to court testimony last year. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Man arrested after impersonation at Berkeley bank

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A Hercules man has been charged with identity theft and forgery after walking into a Berkeley bank and pretending to be someone else earlier this month, authorities said.

Randeep Randhawa, 30, reportedly entered the Chase Bank at 2390 Shattuck Ave. on Jan. 6 with a doctored driver’s license and tried to change another man’s account information, according to court papers.

Authorities said Randhawa gave the teller a color photocopy of a California driver license as identification, along with bank account information, and asked that changes, including phone numbers and debit cards, be made to his account.

He also asked that she activate a card he received in the mail, according to a report filed by the Berkeley Police Department. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Berkeley police arrest 3 with heroin, loaded assault rifle

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A recent Berkeley Police Department probation search in Oakland netted heroin, counterfeit money, cocaine and two firearms, one of which was an assault rifle, and the other of which was a handgun that had been reported stolen in Vallejo, according to court documents.

On Jan. 3, Berkeley officers served a search warrant in the 9800 block of MacArthur Boulevard in Oakland at the apartment of Javon Coggins and Yasmine Johnson. They also served a probation search of Heshimu Courtney, who was inside their home when police arrived.

Inside the apartment, police found a loaded black assault rifle, an unloaded Phoenix Arms .22 caliber handgun, and .44 grams of loose suspected heroin, according to court papers. The handgun had been reported to the Vallejo Police Department in 2012 as stolen. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Alleged yoga class burglar arrested in Berkeley

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A man authorities say is responsible for a series of burglaries over the past year in Berkeley at four yoga studios, a capoeira gym and a restaurant has been charged with six felony commercial burglary counts by the Alameda County district attorney’s office.

According to court documents, Berkeley police say 20-year-old Christopher D. Newton stole unattended wallets, often while participants took classes.

Police said Newton would then use the pilfered credit cards to make purchases before victims knew to cancel the cards. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Berkeley men arrested, linked to pills, 26 pounds of pot

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According to court documents, a traffic stop Dec. 3 was the beginning of an investigation that ultimately uncovered more than 500 prescription pills and 17 pounds of marijuana in a home in the 2200 block of Sixth Street, along with another nine pounds of marijuana discovered during the vehicle stop.

At approximately 5:45 that night, Berkeley Police officer Chris Flores wrote that he stopped Joshua Carl Hamburg, 22, after seeing him run a stop sign at Seventh and Hearst streets. During the stop, Flores said he smelled “a strong odor of marijuana coming from inside the vehicle.”

He asked Hamburg about the smell “and he showed me a bud of marijuana that he had on top of his middle console,” wrote Flores. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Judge says alleged Ashkenaz shooter must stand trial

Ashkenaz's rustic-looking building on San Pablo. Photo: Jeremy Brooks
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After nearly two days of witness testimony, the man arrested earlier this year in the shooting that sent two Ashkenaz employees to the hospital with serious injuries was ordered to face the nine felony charges brought against him by the Alameda County district attorney’s office.

The preliminary hearing for Christopher James Washington of Rodeo took place Tuesday and Wednesday at the Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse in downtown Oakland with Alameda County Superior Court Judge Richard Couzens presiding.

Authorities say Washington is one of two men who robbed Ashkenaz during a crowded 40th anniversary party March 15, shooting two long-time employees in the process. But witnesses for the prosecution said this week that the men began their criminal activities that night with a robbery and sexual assault in Oakland. A victim in that case tracked her stolen phone into Berkeley, where she said she spied Washington and his associate just before the Ashkenaz robbery, then again minutes later as they ran up Gilman Street pursued by a Berkeley Police cruiser. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Teen arrested after robbery tied to medical cannabis buy

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A Berkeley teenager is facing two felony counts after authorities say he robbed a 31-year-old Davis woman during a drug deal in Berkeley involving medical cannabis.

Jerrone Horn, 19, was arrested Dec. 5 at his home in the 1300 block of Delaware Street after police tied him to the crime using a telephone number.

According to court documents, on Nov. 16, a victim reported being robbed by people with a gun at Allston Way and Bonar Street shortly before 7 p.m. The suspects had responded to a Craigslist advertisement related to the sale of medical cannabis.

The victims — a man and woman — initially reported the loss as an iPhone because they were afraid of getting in trouble for selling marijuana, authorities said in court papers, “but felt obligated to report the fact that the suspects were robbing people with guns.” … Continue reading »

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Crime

Authorities link woman to $19,000 Berkeley make-up heist

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A San Pablo woman is in custody after police linked her vehicle to the theft of more than $19,000 in make-up products from the MAC Cosmetics store on Berkeley’s Fourth Street.

Kristen Hale, 32, is set to appear before an Alameda County judge Thursday for the continuation of her pre-trial hearing in connection with identity theft, receiving stolen property and possession of a controlled substance charges.

According to court documents, surveillance footage from the burglary, on Nov. 19, led police to Hale. A Berkeley Police officer who reviewed the footage said it showed two people get out of a car just before 4 a.m., use a rock to break into the MAC store at 1850 Fourth, and steal the merchandise.

Police got the vehicle’s license plate from the footage, and found that the vehicle was registered to Hale. … Continue reading »

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Crime

2 felons with assault rifle charged in Berkeley burglary

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Two four-time felons charged earlier this month with a recent Berkeley burglary are set to go before an Alameda County judge for a pre-trial hearing Thursday morning.

Antonio Perry of Berkeley and Antoine Ford of Antioch were arrested Nov. 26 after a report of a “hot prowl” burglary in Berkeley in the 2400 block of Haste Street, just east of Telegraph Avenue, during which a suspect smashed a glass door to an apartment while the unknowing resident was asleep inside.

Berkeley Police said, in court documents, that a witness reported seeing one of the men, identified as Ford, enter a home on Haste while a man identified as Perry acted as a lookout and, later, a get-away driver.

The witness told police that Ford broke the apartment door just before midnight, then left in a vehicle driven by Perry. Police responded to the area but were unable to find them, and the apartment resident told police that nothing had been taken.

Less than two hours later, the witness again called police to report that the car, a Ford Focus, and several occupants had returned to the block. … Continue reading »

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