Tag Archives: Homicide in Berkeley
Alameda County Superior Court Judge Jon Rolefson has denied a defense motion for a new trial and sentenced Brandon Wallace, 27, to 118 years to life in prison for a 2010 shooting in Berkeley that claimed one life and could have taken another.
The sentencing came more than eight months after Wallace’s conviction for the murder of Gary Ferguson Jr. and the attempted murder of Larry Belle outside a South Berkeley barbershop on Sacramento Street.
Thursday, Rolefson heard arguments from defense attorney Bonnie Narby and prosecutor Matt Wendt about whether a statement from codefendant Coleon Carroll presented significant enough evidence to trigger a new trial. Carroll took a plea deal in the case and said he was the getaway driver after the shooting.
Rolefson heard Carroll’s testimony and that of several others, but ultimately denied the defense motion and said he did not believe Carroll was credible. Carroll said his deceased cousin Jermaine Davis was actually responsible for the crime of which Wallace had been convicted.
Wallace was convicted in March of being one of two assailants in the 2010 double shooting. Police found him in the hospital, with a gunshot wound to the thigh, shortly after they were called to the Sacramento Street crime scene. Detectives said Wallace’s description, injury and clothing tied him to the Berkeley shooting. The other gunman has not been arrested or publicly identified. … Continue reading »
A recent Berkeley High graduate who was killed last week in Oakland along with his mothers was remembered Monday during a vigil on campus.
About 100 people came together to remember Benny Wright, 19, who graduated from the BHS Academy of Medicine and Public Service (AMPS) learning community in June. Benny’s mother, former BUSD teacher Patricia Wright, and her partner, Charlotte Reed, were also killed.
Monday, vigil organizers passed out candles and invited attendees to share their memories and thoughts about Benny Wright.
“Benny’s brother (home from school in Mississippi) spoke first for nearly 15 minutes about Benny’s spirit of love and joy and about how he had already forgiven the assailant,” said teacher John Tobias, who helps run AMPS, along with Claudia Gonzalez.
Tobias said Benny, according to his brother, had been deciding whether to become a hairdresser or a nurse.
“He always wanted to make people feel better. Other students and teachers spoke about Benny’s unwavering smile being able to light up a room,” Tobias said. … Continue reading »
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.
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. … Continue reading »
The day after Ignacio Francis Jr., also known as Greg or ‘lil G’, was gunned down while standing with a group in the 1800 block of Fairview Street, his friends paid their respects at the site of his death.
A group of about 20 people, mostly in their early 20s, gathered Friday afternoon at the intersection of Fairview and Harper to light candles, make wax initials on the sidewalk, and write lil G’s name on a pole to convey how sad they felt that the 19-year-old Berkeley man was killed.
“He was a good friend, he was always there for us,” said Greg Symons Jr., 24, who knew Francis for about a year. “He was a good person. He was not a street person.”
Other friends of Francis’ also said that he had not been mixed up in gang behavior, but was an innocent who was shot on the street.
“The dude didn’t do anything,” said a 20-year-old man who didn’t want his name used but who attended Berkeley Technology Academy with Francis. He said Berkeleyside could refer to him as Wallace. “Violence is everywhere. A bullet has no name on it. I have had too many people killed.” … Continue reading »
Update, 1:40 p.m. Police have identified the young man shot and killed Thursday night as 19-year-old Ignacio Francis Jr. of Berkeley. Those who knew him have said he went by the name “Greg.” He was shot around 7:30 p.m. while standing with a group of people at Harper and Fairview streets. The shooting was not random, according to Officer Byron White, a Berkeley Police Department spokesman.
Original story, 1:34 p.m. The Berkeley Police Department has increased patrols and stepped up investigations this week after several recent shootings, including a homicide Thursday night.
It was the city’s second fatal shooting of the year.
According to a notice released shortly after 1 p.m. Friday, police are asking the community for help as investigators work to identify and capture suspects linked to a series of shootings.
“We ask community members to quickly report any disputes or altercations, especially if a firearm is seen,” according to the statement. “Community members can also play a crucial role in locating evidence, and providing information such as newly discovered damage or providing information or home video surveillance recordings.”
A shooting Wednesday involved a 16-year-old boy from outside Berkeley who was dropped off at the hospital but expected to survive.
“Multiple residents reported gunfire, resulting in immediate response from Berkeley Police,” BPD said.
Officers say this shooting and several others “appear to have involved two groups shooting at each other. This does not appear to have been a random act, but rather an incident involving two groups of individuals targeting each other.”
Update, Sept. 23, 1:40 p.m. Police have identified the young man shot and killed Thursday night as 19-year-old Ignacio Francis Jr. of Berkeley. Those who knew him have said he went by the name “Greg.” He was shot around 7:30 p.m. while standing with a group of people at Harper and Fairview streets. The shooting was not random, according to Officer Byron White, a Berkeley Police Department spokesman.
Original story, Sept. 22: One person has died after a shooting in South Berkeley, authorities reported just after 9 p.m.
Acting Capt. Kevin Schofield, a Berkeley Police spokesman, said a small group of men and women were at the corner of Harper and Fairview streets when a man walked up to them Thursday evening.
“Following some type of verbal exchange, the adult male produced a handgun and fired multiple rounds,” Schofield said. “The group scattered and one person sustained life threatening injuries. BPD officers arrived quickly and attempted to provide medical aid as they summoned BFD. BFD transported the victim to the hospital where he was declared deceased.”
Police got multiple 911 calls about the shooting beginning just after 7:30 p.m.
One person, a male, was taken to Highland Hospital for treatment, according to scanner traffic reviewed by Berkeleyside. The incident took place in the 1800 block of Fairview, according to a Nixle alert released by BPD at 9:20 p.m.
No further information about the victim has been provided. It’s the second homicide in Berkeley of 2016.
Schofield said no arrests have been made but police are looking for the shooter.
According to the 9:20 p.m. Nixle, “While officers work this active crime scene the 1800 block of Fairview Street between Adeline and Ellis Streets is closed to all traffic. Harper Street between Woolsey and Fairview Streets is also closed while we investigate this matter.” … Continue reading »
Wednesday afternoon, an Alameda County Superior Court judge ordered convicted double murderer Darnell Williams Jr. to be executed by the state of California.
Williams, 25, of Berkeley was convicted by a jury in May, after nearly a month of testimony, of two fatal shootings in 2013. The victims were 8-year-old Alaysha Carradine, who was a guest at a sleepover when she was gunned down, and — less than two months later — 22-year-old Anthony “Tone” Medearis III, a father of two. Williams also was found guilty of the attempted murders of two children at the sleepover and their grandmother, as well as the unintentional shooting of his own nephew during the Berkeley killing.
In June, the jury recommended that Williams be sentenced to death. Judge Jeffrey Horner then undertook an extensive independent review of the case before making his ruling Wednesday about what the sentence would be.
Horner said Wednesday the “overwhelming weight” of the evidence supported the jury’s death penalty verdict from earlier this year. He also sentenced Williams to an additional 172 years to life in prison should the death sentence be taken off the table at a later date, and ordered him to pay about $35,000 in fees and fines for restitution and court costs.
Williams said nothing publicly throughout the hearing. At times, he looked around to see who was in the courtroom. But, for the most part, he kept his head down and faced forward. Williams is slated to be taken from Santa Rita Jail in Dublin to San Quentin State Prison in Marin County on Wednesday, authorities say.
“Justice has been truly served,” said Jackie Winters, aunt of Medearis, in remarks to the court before the sentencing. “I really don’t understand how one person can inflict so much pain on two different families.”
Prosecutor John Brouhard also read from a written statement by Chiquita Carradine, the mother of Alaysha, who could not attend the hearing, in part, because it “would be difficult,” Brouhard said.
“I will never see my first and only daughter graduate,” she wrote. “I will never get to see her go to prom, I will never get to see her off to college. I will never get another family photo.” … Continue reading »
[Editor’s Note: Berkeleyside freelancer Delency Parham knew Alex Goodwin Jr. This story includes some of Parham’s own reflections, as a young Black man himself, on the loss.]
The project features five previously unreleased songs from Goodwin, who was shot and killed earlier this month on the front porch of his South Berkeley home. Along with the rest of Neighborhood Heavy, the 22-year-old Berkeley native had been hoping one day to make music his full-time work.
Now, as friends and family mourn his death, members of Neighborhood Heavy say they are hopeful their friend and brother can live on through their music.
Goodwin was born and raised in South Berkeley. A product of all Berkeley schools, parks, and recreation centers, he epitomized what it meant to be from this city.
See the GoFundMe page.
His ability to be there when people needed him most is what allowed him to impact so many lives in such a brief period. Not only was he a son, he was an uncle, an older brother, a grandson and a companion to many. Like most young men, he had a passion for sports; some might even describe him as a Golden State “Warriors fanatic.” … Continue reading »
Crime log: Police raid and drug bust, Northside prowler, library vandals sought, mail thieves spotted, RIP ‘AyeGee’
This overview of recent crime in Berkeley is based on reports to the Berkeley Police unless otherwise noted. Share photos, videos and tips by emailing email@example.com or on Facebook and Twitter. Don’t assume someone else will alert us. We rely on readers to help us stay informed.
SNAPSHOT From Aug. 12-18, there were reports of five robberies, six burglaries, nine assaults or batteries, two weapon-involved calls and no sexual assaults, according to CrimeMapping.com. There were also seven stolen vehicles, nine disturbances and 25 auto break-ins or thefts from vehicles reported. Two weapons calls, a vehicle theft and two vandalisms, among other crimes, were reported on CrimeMapping to the University of California Police Department (UCPD). Arrested or charged individuals are presumed innocent. Find the Aug. 12-18 round-up below.
[NB: The CrimeMapping dataset for Aug. 12-18 is incomplete. Berkeleyside has asked BPD for a fix. The Alameda County sheriff’s office is also having trouble with its Inmate Locator and online case tracking systems; a fix is expected by the end of the month, the agency has reported.]
Recent public safety news: Hot off the presses
ARMED ROBBERY NEAR CAMPUS Early Wednesday morning at 1:50, BPD reports there was an armed robbery at Blake and Dana: “Two suspects walked up behind the two victims and demanded their property while pointing handguns at them. The victims gave the suspects a wallet and cell phone,” and the robbers fled northbound on foot on Dana. The robbers were described as 25-year-old black men with thin builds, 5 foot 9 to 5 foot 11. They wore black hooded sweatshirts and jeans and were armed with handguns. (Berkeleyside first reported this incident on Facebook for timeliness.)
SOUTHSIDE BURGLARY ARREST On Wednesday afternoon, a reader asked Berkeleyside: “What’s going on with all of the cops on Bancroft and Telegraph?” UCPD Sgt. Sabrina Reich said, at about 1 p.m., staff in the Unit 3 student housing complex, at 2400 Durant, “reported a suspicious person who was seen in multiple residence halls.” UCPD officers tried to speak with the man but he ran into a nearby apartment complex where UCPD was able to detain him. Police identified the man as 25-year-old Wilford Hooper of Hercules. Reich said Hooper was found to be in possession of property stolen from Unit 3, and was arrested on suspicion of burglary, probation violation and a warrant out of Contra Costa County. He was taken to Berkeley Jail. He is being held in connection with misdemeanor indecent exposure, in addition to the other violations. Hooper’s next court appearance was not listed online.
PROWLER IN NORTH BERKELEY On Friday, Aug. 19, at about 9:30 a.m., BPD got reports of a prowler in the 2400 block of Virginia, followed by a similar report in the 1600 block of Euclid a short time later. A reader described to Berkeleyside “8 cop cars on Euclid between Virginia and Hilgard. With their guns out.” According to BPD, citizens helped police track the prowler’s flight path through the block and nearby backyards. Two people were detained but ultimately no one was arrested. BPD said, according to one report, a man had been masturbating in a common area of an apartment building. The case remains under investigation. “The citizens were helpful,” said watch commander Lt. Andrew Rateaver. “It is important for residents to know what is going on in their area.” (Berkeleyside first reported this incident on Facebook for timeliness.) … Continue reading »
Twenty-two-year-old Alex Goodwin Jr. has been identified as the person who was fatally shot by San Pablo Park late Thursday night.
Authorities have not released the name, but friends have identified Goodwin online and the family has been informed, according to those familiar with the neighborhood.
Thursday night’s shooting became the first homicide of the year after Goodwin was pronounced dead at Highland Hospital early Friday morning.
Multiple callers reported the sound of gunfire to police just before midnight. Numerous callers said they heard three shots around Mabel and Burnett streets.
Berkeleyside broke the news of the shooting at about 2:20 a.m.
Goodwin lived in the 2900 block of Mabel according to records online. A woman called police around the time of the gunshots to report that her brother had left their home but not come back in, according to scanner recordings reviewed by Berkeleyside.
BPD has not confirmed whether that call referred to Goodwin.
The young man attended Berkeley Arts Magnet, King Middle School and Berkeley High.
In a chilling post on Twitter less than a week ago, Goodwin wrote, “When I die, turnup for me… On Mabel in front of Grams house like I would want you to.” … Continue reading »
Police called to southwest Berkeley just before midnight following reports of possible gunfire found a young man down in the street who was breathing but unresponsive.
Berkeley Police Sgt. Andrew Frankel said shortly before 4:30 a.m. that the man was later pronounced dead at the hospital.
“We don’t believe that there is an immediate threat to the community as the shooting does not appear to have been random,” he said. “The suspects are still at large. Homicide detectives are on scene and working the investigation.”
Frankel confirmed that dispatchers got numerous calls just before midnight Friday about loud reports — possible gunfire — near Mabel and Burnett streets. Several callers reported hearing what sounded like three gunshots. The location is south of San Pablo Park and north of Ashby Avenue. It’s one block east of San Pablo Avenue.
One woman also called police to say her brother had stepped out of their home in the 2900 block of Mabel and had not come back inside, according to unconfirmed scanner traffic reviewed by Berkeleyside.
Officers who responded to the scene found a 22-year-old man down in the street at Burnett and Mabel. Initially it was unclear whether he had been hit by gunfire. … Continue reading »
The mother of a 23-year-old woman killed last week by gunfire spoke out Wednesday about her daughter’s innocence, her hopes for a music career and her devotion to her family.
“Marne’e did not like violence, she did not like arguing,” said Kenitra Love, mother of Berkeley High graduate Marne’e Maxine Karen Causey. “She wouldn’t argue with anybody. She would walk away first.”
The day Causey was killed, Aug. 9, she had just dropped off several of her younger siblings at her mother’s home. She’d watched them for a couple days to give her mom a break after the family had met up for a birthday party. She’d also dropped off her father at a job interview, and had planned to pick him up later. In the meantime, she was going to meet up with her brother, Bones, so they could go to the music studio together.
They made a stop at a cousin’s home in the 7400 block of Fresno Street in East Oakland. Police say someone opened fire on the home at 3:10 p.m. Causey was hit. She collapsed on the porch and was later pronounced dead at the scene. No arrests have been made.
“My daughter was not targeted,” said Love, who said Causey had no affiliation or involvement with gangs. “That bullet was not meant for my daughter.” … Continue reading »
Friends and family gathered around the East Bay on Sunday to celebrate the life of Terrence McCrary Jr. (known to many as Terrence Mack).
Mack, who was 22 years young, was born and raised in Berkeley. Also known as TMack, Sweet T and Lil BadBadBad, behind he leaves a cohort of friends and family who are dedicated to ensuring that his legacy lives on.
Mack was shot and killed early Sunday morning, along with 20-year-old Craig Fletcher-Cooks, while attending a birthday party at Prime Development art gallery in downtown Oakland.
Friends worked quickly to organize memorials in Mack’s honor: a celebration at Lake Merritt in Oakland during the day, and a candlelight vigil in Berkeley’s San Pablo Park on Sunday night.
A fundraiser has been set up to help the family.
Mack’s longtime friends, Nicco Piña and Winn Child-Phillips, organized the Berkeley vigil to acknowledge and remember him.
Piña — also known as Neek Levy — and other friends and family of Mack, including his mother and father, Florence and Terrence McCrary Sr., met at San Pablo Park for the vigil.
Florence McCrary said she was overwhelmed by the love and support people have shown for her son, and that it was beautiful to see everyone come together in his name.
Terrence Sr. took a moment to address the crowd. He voiced his appreciation for all the kind gestures from the community, and finished his talk with powerful words: “My son was going to change the world.” … Continue reading »