Charges have been dropped in the case against a Pittsburg man accused of shooting a 26-year-old Berkeley man to death last summer.
Wednesday at 10 a.m., an Alameda County Superior Court judge agreed to drop the charges against 26-year-old Antiown “Twanny” York, and said he could go home.
Prosecutor Autrey James, of the Alameda County district attorney’s office, asked the judge Wednesday morning to dismiss the case against York. James told the judge his office had been unable to locate a material witness in the case, and believed that witness to be outside the area.
York’s preliminary hearing — in which a judge determines whether there is enough evidence to allow a case to go forward — was set to begin earlier this week. It was delayed until Wednesday due to witness issues, and the problem remained unresolved Wednesday morning.
Defense attorney Annie Beles said she had no objection to the dismissal.
“I would only hope Mr. York is able to return to his family in peace and safety, given the history of the case,” she told the judge. York is expected to be released by Wednesday night “absent any other holds,” Beles said.
Judge Paul Delucchi said the district attorney’s office is not precluded from filing charges in the case again against York.
Authorities have said previously that Davis’ shooting sparked a tragic aftermath that ultimately led to the killing of 8-year-old Alaysha Carradine in Oakland hours after Davis was shot dead in Berkeley.
According to testimony in a separate court case that involved friends of Davis, he and York had been longtime associates, and both had ties to West Berkeley’s waterfront neighborhood.
Authorities said during that case that York, a former Berkeley High School student, had been on and off the phone July 17, 2013, with Davis. Eight minutes after the last call between the men, which took place at 6:44 p.m., Davis was shot to death on Derby Street near Martin Luther King Jr. Way in Berkeley.
At least one person witnessed the shooting, according to court papers. There was initial speculation by some that Davis’ death had been connected in some way to the conviction of several North Oakland gang members who killed his brother in 2009, but people familiar with the case have said a personal dispute between York and Davis was the actual cause.
Friends of Davis, as well as his cousin Joseph Carroll, quickly began hatching a plan to retaliate against York, according to authorities. One went to an Oakland home where York’s children lived and opened fire, killing 8-year-old Alaysha Carradine and wounding three other people. Carradine was a family friend who was visiting for a sleepover when the brutal shooting happened. (Darnell Williams Jr. is facing murder charges in that case.)
Davis was a central figure in the West Berkeley neighborhood where he grew up, and has been linked by authorities to past criminal activity associated with the Waterfront gang.
Some who knew Davis said he had, in recent times, cleaned up his act, and was focused on being a positive role model for his younger relatives.
Wrote one of Davis’ supporters in a comment on Berkeleyside in April, “I would appreciate if you all would stop talking about my cousins, they weren’t involved with any gang, we were all just family that had each others back no matter what happen.. All he wanted to do was take care of our grandma , mom & his family … nothing else.”
Wrote another, who identified himself as “Kingbaba,” “I’m 16 my uncle ain’t told me to do nothing in life BUT stay outta trouble and be good most of y’all talking bout how my family is bad people but some people didn’t have the motivation to do good like me and my brother do he was a role model to me even tho he was in and out of jail so I please would like it if y’all stop putting my family business out.”
Wednesday morning outside the courtroom, members of York’s family declined to comment.
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