After less than two full days of deliberation, an Alameda County Superior Court jury found Brandon Wallace guilty Monday morning of first-degree murder, attempted murder and unlawful possession of a firearm in a 2010 Berkeley double shooting that has been slow to work its way through the system.
The guilty verdict means Wallace, 26, could face more than 50 years in prison.
Wallace of Pittsburg was accused of opening fire at point-blank range — with a second shooter who has never been arrested or charged — on lifelong friends Gary Ferguson Jr. and Larry Belle as they stood talking and joking on a Sacramento Street sidewalk on Oct. 26, 2010, near the shop where Belle worked cutting hair.
Read Berkeleyside’s in-depth look at the trial.
“I just hope it brings some closure to the Ferguson family,” said prosecutor Matt Wendt after the verdict was read shortly before 11 a.m. Monday.
The jury began its deliberations Wednesday afternoon. The group continued through the day Thursday but did not meet Friday. Monday morning, jurors asked to review some video associated with the case, and to hear some testimony read back, according to Judge Jon Rolefson, who said he wanted to make sure those requests were part of the official record.
After watching surveillance video in the courtroom — of either the shooting or the immediate aftermath, when the shooters can be seen running away south on Sacramento — the jury returned upstairs, the judge said. When the recorder went to read back testimony to the group, she was told it was no longer needed, Rolefson said.
As the clerk read the jury’s verdict, Wallace’s defense attorney rubbed his arm briefly to comfort him. He listened, shaking his head slightly and, at times, rested his head against his hands.
Tuesday morning, the judge will review Wallace’s prior conviction to determine whether that will increase his sentence. According to court papers, Wallace was convicted in 2006 of second-degree robbery, a felony, in Contra Costa County.
The court had planned to consider that issue Monday, but defense attorney Bonnie Narby said her client preferred a delay.
“It’s a lot for him to absorb today,” she told the judge. She asked for the matter to come back in one or two weeks.
The judge agreed to put off the hearing until Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. to “let things sink in a little bit.”
Through Narby, Wallace also asked the judge to rescind a jailhouse classification keeping him in a separate housing unit from 26-year-old Coleon Carroll — who entered a no contest plea last month in connection with the case. Authorities have said he was the getaway driver after the murder.
The judge said he had no issue with them being housed in the same area, but said it is a matter for the sheriff’s office to settle. Wendt said he had no issue with them being together either.
Carroll was sentenced Monday morning to 13 years in prison.
Wallace’s sentencing date has not been set.
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)
Do you rely on Berkeleyside for local news? Support independent journalism by becoming a Berkeleyside member for $10 a month or even less, or by making a one-time donation.