OAKLAND (BCN) A judge today ordered five reputed gang members and associates to
stand trial on murder charges for the fatal shooting of a 24-year-old man in East Oakland in broad daylight last year, saying there's ample evidence to connect them to the man's death.
At the end of a preliminary hearing that lasted nearly two full days, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Horner rejected the argument by defense lawyers for the five defendants that they acted in self-defense only after the victim, Anthony Stevens, pointed a gun at one of the men in the 1400 block of 92nd Avenue at about 10:30 a.m. on July 9, 2016.
Horner said it's true that Stevens, who had addresses in both San Leandro and Oakland, was armed with a gun but there's no evidence that he fired it.
Horner said four of the five men "unleashed a hail of gunfire at the victim (Stevens)," who he said they had surrounded as he sat in a car.
The judge said, "That isn't suggestive of self defense. It suggests a deliberate killing."
Oakland police Lt. Roland Holmgren said at a news conference at police headquarters on July 28, 2016, that was attended by Mayor Libby Schaaf that the five suspects are allegedly members or associates of the Five Kingdom Mafia, which he said is a "hybrid gang" that conducts operations in
Berkeley and Oakland and commits a lot of street robberies.
On July 21, 2016, police arrested four of the suspects in Vallejo and Berkeley: Anthony Roy Wilson, 26, of Vallejo, Aoderi Qwai Samad, 24, of Berkeley, Derrick Lee McFadden, 21, of Berkeley, and Kermit Daryl Tanner, 20, of Richmond.
The other suspect, Tyrone Anthony Terrell Jr., 24, who's originally from Berkeley and has ties to Sacramento, was arrested in Oakland on Sept. 22, 2016.
The evidence at the preliminary hearing indicates that the fatal shooting of Stevens the morning of July 9, 2016, occurred next to a street memorial for Wilson's half-brother, Roderick Tucker, 21, who died after he was shot multiple times in that area at about 7 p.m. the previous night.
The motive for the fatal shooting of Stevens wasn't disclosed at the hearing and Terrell's attorney, Ernie Castillo, said there's no evidence that it was a "revenge murder."
Castillo said, "There's no evidence this was a planned homicide or a murder."
The defense attorney said, "It was a spontaneous thing that erupted" after Stevens pulled out his gun and pointed it" at a man identified by police and prosecutors as Terrell.
Castillo said, "There is no murder here. In a worst case scenario this is a voluntary manslaughter."
But prosecutor Chris Cavagnaro said he believes the shooting of Stevens was planned because the five defendants and a sixth man who wasn't charged came to the scene armed with guns and "essentially surrounded" Stevens as he sat in a parked car.
Cavagnaro said Stevens was "justifiably scared" and got out of the car and pointed his gun only after Wilson and Terrell approached him on both sides of his car and Wilson opened a car door.
The shooting was captured by a surveillance camera from a nearby business and was played multiple times at the hearing.
In addition to the murder charge, Horner ordered Wilson, Samad, Terrell and McFadden to stand trial on the enhancement of personally discharging a firearm to cause Stevens' death because the evidence suggests that they all shot him.
That clause could add 25 years to their state prison terms if they're convicted of murder.
Horner said there's no evidence that Tanner fired his gun but he said Tanner should still stand trial on a murder charge for being an aider and abettor because he drove some of the other men to and from the shooting scene.
About 15 family members and friends of the reputed gang members and associates attended the hearing and some of them cried when Horner ordered them to stand trial.
The five men are scheduled to return to court on Dec. 12 to have their trial date set.