Tag Archives: Shootings in Berkeley

Crime

Closing arguments begin in Berkeley-Oakland death penalty case: ‘Alaysha saw her killer’ and he saw her

Rene C. Davidson Courthouse. Photo: Melati Citrawireja
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After four weeks in trial, with 13 days of testimony and 36 witnesses, prosecutor John Brouhard began his closing arguments Monday in the double homicide case that could result in the death penalty for Darnell Williams Jr. if the jury finds him guilty.

Williams, 25, has been charged with eight felonies and several special circumstances in connection with the fatal shootings in 2013 of 8-year-old Alaysha Carradine in Oakland and 22-year-old Anthony “Tone” Medearis III in Berkeley less than two months later.

“This defendant is committed to what he calls street justice,” Brouhard told the jury. He described how, bent on “retribution and revenge” after the killing of his friend Jermaine “Third” Davis in Berkeley, Williams set out to get back at the person he believed was responsible.

“He’s not grieving the death of his friend, he is preparing for war,” Brouhard told the jury. “He lured three children to a door and then he unleashed a barrage of gunfire when they least expected it.”

It was an emotional day for relatives of Alaysha and Medearis, as Brouhard described in detail the killings, played video from an officer’s body cam and flashed autopsy photographs on screens as part of his elaborate presentation. At one point, he set up a timer in front of jurors to illustrate just how long 3 minutes and 15 seconds could be: the time, he said, between when Williams’ phone had pinged off a tower near the apartment where Alaysha had been a guest at a sleepover, and the time the first 911 call about her shooting came in. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Sister of man charged with 2 murders takes the stand

Darnell Williams Jr. mugshot. Photo: ACSO
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The older sister of a Berkeley man who could face the death penalty if found guilty of two fatal shootings in 2013 testified on his behalf Monday, but her testimony may have done more harm than good.

Chastity Williams, sister of Darnell Williams Jr., told the jury why she instructed her son — struck by a fragment from a bullet he said his uncle fired — not to talk to police about what he’d seen. She also disputed her son’s story that he would get “a whuppin” if he didn’t keep quiet.

“He fibs,” she said of her son, who was 7 at the time of shooting. As to why she told him not to speak with police, she said: “As a parent, I wanted to figure out what was going on first before Elliot spoke to anyone. He’s a kid. Why would I want to put my child through that?”

On cross-examination, however, Williams admitted to having told police her son was “very accurate.” She repeatedly changed her story and tried to explain inconsistencies in her statements. Direct examination, by the defense, lasted less than 15 minutes. Prosecutor John Brouhard then questioned her for nearly two hours on cross-examination.

Read complete coverage of the case.

Williams said her son made up the threat of a beating to try to stop authorities from questioning him after the Sept. 8, 2013, shooting that killed 22-year-old Anthony “Tone” Medearis III in West Berkeley. Police arrested Darnell Williams, then 22, near the scene. The two young men were both familiar faces in what some who live in the area call “the Waterfront” neighborhood and hung out with the same friends.

Defense attorney Darryl Billups, who called Chastity Williams, 27, to the stand, asked if she had been trying to protect her brother when she told her son not to speak with police. She said that had not been her goal.

When she walked up to the stand Monday morning, Williams gave a little wave and smile to her younger brother as he sat at the defense table. Seeing the friendly face was likely a change for the defendant, who has not had any apparent supporters in the courtroom over the past month. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Berkeley killings get spotlight in death penalty case

Anthony Medearis' aunt wore a lanyard and memorial photograph of her nephew to court this week. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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One month into the trial of a Berkeley man charged with two murders, who could face the death penalty, his defense attorneys are slated to begin to present evidence to the jury Monday.

Darnell Williams Jr., 25, is accused of killing 8-year-old Alaysha Carradine, who happened to be a guest at a sleepover at an apartment targeted by a man the prosecution has said was bent on revenge for the killing in Berkeley earlier that day — July 17, 2013 — of a close friend.

Less than two months later, Sept. 8, authorities say Williams opened fire on 22-year-old Anthony “Tone” Medearis III as Medearis ran from him, pleading for his life. The two were fixtures in the same West Berkeley neighborhood and hung out with the same group of friends. Authorities have said Williams planned to rob Medearis and considered him a snitch who deserved to die for talking to the police.

Alaysha’s killing — described by the prosecution as the intentional gunning down of children — horrified the broader Bay Area community. Medearis’ shooting, though heinous and senseless, did not strike the same chord. His family, a near-daily presence in the courtroom, has been the first to acknowledge it. But they’ve said they’ve come to see Medearis’ death as a path to justice for Alaysha.

“My baby was an angel,” said Medearis’ mother, Dolanda Medearis, during a recent break from court. “Had he [Williams] not killed him, he could have gotten away with killing that 8-year-old girl.” … Continue reading »

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Crime

Boyfriend charged with attempted murder after double shooting in Berkeley

Police watch over the scene where two people were shot on Tremont Street, near Prince Street, in Berkeley, on Wednesday, March 16, 2016. Photo: David Yee ©2016
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A San Jose man has been charged with shooting his girlfriend in the head and opening fire on her male friend as the two sat in a car in South Berkeley in mid-March.

Anthony Burton, 44, was charged Thursday by the Alameda County district attorney’s office with six felonies: two counts of attempted murder; corporal injury to a relationship partner; assault with a semiautomatic weapon; shooting at an occupied motor vehicle; and possession of a firearm by a felon.

According to court papers, Burton shot his girlfriend in the head, and her male friend “about five times in the face and body,” as they sat in a car on Tremont Street near Prince Street, not far from the Ashby BART station.

Both victims survived but are still recovering, police said last week. Police have not released many details about the case. According to court papers, investigators identified Burton as the shooter, and noted that he was in a dating relationship with the female victim.  … Continue reading »

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Crime

Berkeley police make arrest in double shooting

A car where two people were shot sits on Tremont Street near Prince Street, in Berkeley, on Wednesday, March 16, 2016. Photo: David Yee
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Authorities have arrested a 44-year-old transient man from San Jose in connection with a double shooting near the Ashby BART station in March that left a man and woman with serious injuries.

A deputy with the Sacramento County sheriff’s office arrested Anthony Burton on Tuesday at 3:30 a.m. after finding him asleep in his car, which had set off an alert from the officer’s automated license plate reader.

The officer saw that Burton was wanted in connection with an attempted homicide case from Berkeley, and took him into custody on the warrant. The vehicle, a 2008 Mazda 5, had been parked outside a Denny’s in Sacramento at 5120 Interstate Ave.

Sgt. Andrew Frankel of the Berkeley Police Department said Berkeley detectives later picked up Burton from the Sacramento County sheriff’s office. He was arrested on suspicion of two counts of attempted homicide. Frankel said he couldn’t share any details about the possible motive in the case, but confirmed the shooting was not random.  … Continue reading »

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Berkeley police seek help identifying shooting suspect

Screen Shot BPD video
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Berkeley police are asking for the community’s help to identify a suspect who shot at a homeless man in downtown Berkeley in the early hours of April 14.

Nixle alert released by BPD on Tuesday at around 3 p.m. includes a video which shows the suspect aiming and firing a gun (see below).

Police said that Thursday at approximately 3:35 a.m. dispatch received a report of shots fired in the 2100 block of Kittredge Street. Once on scene, officers talked to what they describe as the intended target of the shooting, a 39-year-old homeless man, who was not hit or injured by the gunfire.

The man said he had been standing in front of 2165 Kittredge St. when the suspect, who was in the parking lot near the gas pumps of Touchless Car Wash at 2176 Kittredge, began shooting at him. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Newly found photo could bolster prosecution’s case in Berkeley-Oakland death penalty trial

Darnell Williams Jr. mugshot. Photo: ACSO
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A Berkeley man facing multiple murder charges may have inadvertently tipped off the prosecution to a notable piece of evidence by insisting he get access to material on his old cellphone.

Police had confiscated the phone of Darnell Williams Jr. at the time of his arrest in Berkeley in 2013. He has been charged with the murders of an 8-year-old girl in Oakland and a 22-year-old father with ties to the same West Berkeley neighborhood where Williams lived. The trial began two weeks ago. If convicted, Williams could face the death penalty.

Thursday, after excusing the jury until Tuesday morning, attorneys and Alameda County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Horner stayed on in the courtroom to update the written record following two conversations they’d had earlier in chambers.

The defendant’s cellphone was the topic of those conversations. The defense team had, for some time, been pushing prosecutor John Brouhard to turn over all material from the phone at their client’s urging. Police had tried in the past to download texts and other information from it, but been stymied by technical difficulties.

Defense attorneys “thought it was a really stupid and bad idea”

This week, the Fremont Police Department was able to download the entirety of the phone contents. Brouhard said a review of those records led to the discovery of a photograph that shows a pistol that could have been used to kill 8-year-old Alaysha Carradine in July 2013. She had been playing at a friend’s house during a sleepover and was not the intended target. Three other people, two children and their grandmother, were injured. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Ex-girlfriend of accused killer: ‘I feel scared to this day’

Darnell Williams Jr. mugshot. Photo: ACSO
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Testimony continued Monday in the case against a man with ties to a Berkeley gang who is accused of gunning down a little girl at a slumber party and fatally shooting a Berkeley father in the back as he ran for his life and pleaded for mercy.

Defense attorneys for Darnell Williams Jr., 25, have said hard evidence is lacking. They have questioned the credibility of two of the prosecution’s central witnesses and asked the jury not to be swayed by the heartbreaking killing of the little girl, for which they say their client is not responsible. That shooting sent shockwaves through the community and is still difficult for seasoned first-responders to discuss.

Williams could face the death penalty if convicted. He has been charged with the murder, during a sleepover in Oakland’s Dimond District, of 8-year-old Alaysha Carradine, with a firearm, while “lying in wait,” which is a special circumstance that carries extra weight; the attempted murders of three other people at the sleepover, two children and their grandmother; and shooting at an inhabited dwelling.

See the Berkeleyside crime section.

Williams has also been charged with killing 22-year-old Anthony “Tone” Medearis III in Berkeley less than two months later during a robbery, in part because of rumors Medearis had “snitched” to police in 2011. During that shooting, Williams’ nephew was also struck near the eye with a bullet fragment from Williams’ gun, according to the prosecution. … Continue reading »

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After latest shooting, neighbors talk public safety

The corner of Delaware and San Pablo, the site of three shootings in recent years. Photo: Emily Dugdale.
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“How much is too much?”

The question lingered in the air as folding chairs were put away following what was described as an “action plan” meeting Saturday convened by Berkeley Councilwoman Linda Maio held at the Adult School in West Berkeley. Long-time residents joined young families, as well as a representative from the Berkeley Police Department, to discuss potential neighborhood changes following the March 15 shooting of a 28-year-old man on the corner of Delaware and San Pablo Avenue outside of Bing’s Liquors.

“I know you feel the same way I do,” Maio told an agitated crowd of approximately 40 neighbors who shared accounts of witnessing substance abuse, public defection and “sleaze” centered on a small strip of bustling San Pablo Avenue. “This is not new,” she said.

March’s incident marks the third shooting in the area in as many years. In February 2013, Zontee Jones, 34, was shot in broad daylight on Delaware Street and San Pablo Avenue. Six months later, on the other side of San Pablo at Delaware, Dustin Bynum, 24, was shot at close range in front of Bing’s Liquors. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Judge orders Williams trial to continue after defendant threatens suicide, violence

Darnell Williams Jr. mugshot. Photo: ACSO
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After an unexpected series of events, an Alameda County Superior Court judge offered to lend his own clean underwear, trousers and socks to a defendant standing trial for multiple murders.

Testimony was slated to resume at 9:30 Monday morning in the Darnell Williams Jr. case, but was postponed for what initially were unknown reasons. The jurors all were in attendance on a separate floor but never came down to the courtroom.

At 11:15 a.m., Judge Jeffrey Horner went on the record with prosecutor John Brouhard and defense attorneys  and . Defendant Williams was not present.

Read complete coverage of the case.

Horner then summarized what had taken place earlier in the day. He said deputies had reported several issues that had come up with Williams since the weekend.

First, deputies had tried to move Williams from Santa Rita Jail in Dublin to the North County jail in Oakland, but he told them he did not want that. Billups said his client reported that the move would cause him “nothing but trouble,” either with inmates or deputies, but did not elaborate.

Williams then told the deputies over the weekend that he was suicidal. Under sheriff’s office protocol, he was taken to a separate facility and given a different set of clothing.

Monday morning, Williams refused to come to court, the judge said, because he had not had a chance to shower and did not have clean underwear or socks. He told the deputies, Horner reported, that he “would fight” if they forced him to come to court. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Years on, Alaysha Carradine killing is still haunting

Alaysha Carradine, courtesy of family
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As testimony began Tuesday in the Darnell Williams Jr. murder trial, veteran first responders were overcome by emotion on the stand as they recalled the 8-year-old girl fatally shot during a sleepover in 2013, and the courtroom was captivated by the sweetness of the little girl who survived the violence.

Most of the adults who testified Tuesday at times teared up as they thought back to July 17, 2013, and described how they knew or came into contact that day with Alaysha Carradine. Carradine was simply a visitor at an Oakland apartment targeted by a man bent on revenge for a fatal shooting earlier that day in Berkeley, authorities say. The estranged girlfriend of the man later charged in the Berkeley case lived at the apartment with their two children, but the couple had no contact.

Read complete coverage of the case.

Defense attorneys say Williams is not the shooter, and that there just isn’t enough evidence to link him to the crime. Williams, 25, has also been charged with the murder of Anthony Medearis III in Berkeley in September 2013 and could face the death penalty if convicted of both murders at the conclusion of the trial, which could last into June. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Defense says lack of evidence will cast doubt in double murder trial

Alaysha Carradine, courtesy of family
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Unreliable statements and a lack of evidence will show the jury Darnell Williams Jr. did not commit the two killings, in Berkeley and Oakland, for which he is standing trial this week, his defense attorney said Tuesday morning.

In her brief opening statements, before Alameda County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Horner, defense attorney Deborah Levy urged the jury not to be swayed by the “horrific, horrible, horrendous, heartbreaking homicide of a young 8-year-old girl.”

Levy said the jury should “listen to what is not there” in the prosecution’s case: no DNA, no fingerprints, no murder weapons and no eyewitnesses who identified Williams as the person responsible for the shooting in Oakland of three children and a grandmother, which left Alaysha Carradine dead July 17, 2013.

Read about the prosecution’s opening statements.

Levy said the prosecution’s two main witnesses in the case are prostitutes who may have had their own reasons to lie. Prosecutor John Brouhard told the jury Monday that Williams told both women he committed the Oakland shooting.

“Those two statements are not sufficient … to prove Mr. Williams is responsible,” Levy told the jury. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Prosecutor: Berkeley killing sparked ‘rampage of violence’ that left little girl dead

Darnell Williams Jr. mugshot. Photo: ACSO
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The shooter rang the doorbell, then straightened out his arms as he held the pistol in front of him with both hands. He waited for the doorknob to move and heard a little girl ask, “Who is it?”

As the knob began to turn, he opened fire, pointing slightly downward. Thirteen bullets pierced the metal security door, scattering casings on the ground outside. Eight of those bullets penetrated the wooden front door. The next five entered the apartment through the gap left after the door opened.

When the gunfire stopped, three children had been shot, one fatally. Clara Fields — grandmother of two of those children — who had been on a couch at the end of the hall watching TV also was hit.

The chilling scene that led to the death of 8-year-old Alaysha Carradine in Oakland during a sleepover at a friend’s home in 2013 was recounted in graphic detail Monday as prosecutor John Brouhard outlined his case for an Alameda County jury against 25-year-old Darnell Williams Jr. He could face the death penalty or life without parole if convicted.

Brouhard said Williams was on a “rampage of violence” when he set out to kill the young children and former girlfriend of the man he believed gunned down his close friend Jermaine Davis hours earlier in Berkeley.

“This defendant believes in street justice,” Brouhard told the jury Monday morning. “And for this defendant that means retaliation… the killing of innocent and defenseless people including women and children.”

Williams has also been charged with killing 22-year-old Anthony “Tone” Medearis III in Berkeley less than two months later during a robbery, in part because of rumors Medearis had “snitched” to police in 2011. … Continue reading »

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