Family says suspect in muralist's murder is innocent

OAKLAND (BCN) - Outside of the arraignment Thursday for a 20-year-old man accused of shooting and killing an Emeryville artist as he worked on a mural in West Oakland in September, family members of the defendant said police arrested the wrong man.

Marquise Holloway, 20, was in court today on a murder charge for the Sept. 29 shooting of 27-year-old Antonio Ramos, as well as two counts of attempted robbery and three counts of robbery for separate incidents.

He was assigned an attorney but did not enter a plea.

Holloway's arraignment had to be postponed last week when he started banging his head on a glass partition in the courtroom and screaming profanities.

He again had a crowd of supporters in the room Thursday. About 10 people attended his arraignment last week and angrily stormed out of the courtroom afterward.

"He's a good guy," his sister, 21-year-old Yemas McGee, told reporters outside of court Thursday morning. "I don't get why he's accused of all this bad stuff."

McGee and Holloway's aunt, Shardee Gilmore, said Holloway looks nothing like a surveillance photo of a suspect that Oakland police distributed shortly after Ramos' murder.

They said he was not hiding at his mother's home in Stockton where he was arrested, but visited there often and was not found with the gun that investigators say was used in the crime.

That gun was recovered and revealed to have been stolen from a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent in an auto burglary in San Francisco earlier in September.

A San Francisco resident, Sean Gibson, was arrested on Oct. 21 and charged with the burglary. Investigators have not said how they think the gun made its way from Gibson to Holloway.

Holloway's family says that he is innocent of both the murder and the robberies, including one he's accused of earlier in the day of Ramos' murder and another on Oct. 5. Holloway had a prior conviction for robbery in
2012, according to prosecutors.

Police said the fatal shooting of Ramos also started out as a robbery. Ramos was part of a group painting a mural underneath the West Street overpass of Interstate Highway 580, one of a series of student-designed murals in the Oakland Super Heroes Mural Project.

The Attitudinal Healing Connection, a West Oakland group that aims to stop violence through art and education, organized the project.

At about 10:30 a.m. on Sept. 29, Ramos took a break from painting and stepped back to take a picture of the in-progress mural. As he was taking pictures, Holloway allegedly came by and noticed his camera.

The two got into a confrontation that ended with Holloway allegedly shooting Ramos, police said.

Holloway remains in custody without bail and was ordered to return to court on Jan. 4.

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