Jury convicts man of murdering 8-year-old girl and 22-year-old man

Jurors today convicted an Oakland man of two counts of first-degree murder with special circumstances for the shooting death of 8-year-old Alaysha Carradine in Oakland in July 2013 and the unrelated fatal shooting of a man in Berkeley about seven weeks later.

Jurors deliberated for only a day and a half before reaching their verdicts against 25-year-old Darnell Williams, who will now face a separate penalty phase at which jurors will choose between recommending the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Prosecutor John Brouhard alleged in his closing argument in the month-long trial that Williams fired at least 13 shots into an apartment in the 3400 block of Wilson Avenue in Oakland at about 11:15 p.m. on July 17, 2013, in retaliation for the fatal shooting of his close friend, 26-year-old reputed gang member Jermaine Davis, in the 1800 block of Derby Street in Berkeley about five hours earlier.

Brouhard said Williams wanted to harm anyone who was close to Antiown York, the man he thought had murdered Davis, and went to the apartment because York's ex-girlfriend, who was the mother of York's 7-year-old girl and 4-year-old boy, lived there.

The mother wasn't home when Williams arrived at the apartment but the two children were there along with their 63-year-old grandmother and Alaysha, who was a close friend of the 7-year-old girl and was spending the night there.   

The 7-year-old girl, the 4-year-old boy and their grandmother were also struck by gunfire but survived their injuries.

Brouhard alleges that Williams shot Medearis because he thought he was a snitch and also because he wanted to rob him because he had run out of money to buy guns, drugs and jewelry.

Brouhard said Williams killed Medearis after a dispute at a dice game, chasing Medearis down and shooting him in the back as he pleaded for his life.

But Williams' lawyers, Deborah Levy and Darryl Billups, asked jurors to find Williams not guilty, saying there wasn't enough evidence to convict him.

In her closing argument, Levy said, "There are no fingerprints, no DNA, no guns and no eyewitnesses" that tie Williams to the two fatal shootings.

In addition to the two murder counts, Williams was convicted of three counts of premeditated attempted murder and the special circumstance of lying in wait for the Oakland shooting, the special circumstance of murdering Medearis during the course of an attempted robbery and the special circumstance of committing multiple murders.

He also was convicted of shooting at an inhabited dwelling for the Oakland shooting, assault with a semi-automatic firearm for accidentally striking his 7-year-old nephew in the face with a bullet fragment in the

Berkeley shooting and two counts of possession of a firearm by an ex-felon.

Williams was convicted in 2010 of assault with a semi-automatic firearm.

His penalty phase is scheduled to begin on May 16.