Key witness gives conflicting accounts of fatal shooting of mother

OAKLAND (BCN) The prosecution's star witness in the trial of four men who are charged with murder for the fatal shooting of a 30-year-old mother of three children in a wild shootout in West Oakland in March 2015 gave conflicting accounts about the incident today.

Joneria Reed, 38, who at one point faced life in prison for her role in the incident but recently entered into a plea deal that calls for her to serve only 6 years, said she called her son and a cousin after a suspect shoved her to the ground but claimed she didn't ask them to bring guns and didn't even know if they would show up to defend her.

Testifying in the trial of four men who are charged in connection with the fatal shooting of Chyemil Pierce in the 2800 block of Chestnut Street at about 4:45 p.m. on March 9, 2015, Reed said she got upset when Jerry Harbin, 31, shoved her to the ground while she and others were trying to break up a fight between her friend, 22-year-old Jameelah Garry, and Harbin's girlfriend, Hali Fletcher.

Reed said Harbin added insult to injury by making derogatory comments about her son, 22-year-old Donald Ward, who had been fatally shot in the area of Willow and 10th streets in West Oakland less then two months
earlier, on Jan. 20, 2015.

Reed said she called her other son, Dijon Ward, who's now 22, to tell him that "a guy put his hands on me" and then called her cousin, Anthony Sims, now 21, to provide backup to her son.

But Reed also said she didn't expect Sims to come to the scene because he told her he was across town in East Oakland.

Under cross-examination by Harbin's lawyer, Ted Johnson, Reed said she didn't expect any gunplay in the incident, in which more than 70 shots were fired.

Prosecutor Butch Ford said Pierce, who worked as a human resources specialist at Kaiser Permanente, wasn't involved in the argument and fight that led to the shooting but had just picked up two of her children from a
charter school in the area and was struck by a bullet that struck her in the back of her head.

When Johnson asked Reed what she expected would happen after she called Ward and Sims, Reed said, "Anything could have happened. It could have been a fight and it obviously could have been a gun battle."

Although Reed said Harbin pushed her to the ground, she said she didn't sustain any cuts, bruises or scars and didn't seek medical attention.

Ford said in his opening statement in the trial of Harbin, Sims, Alex Davis, 27, and Michael Stills, 23, that the shootout was between Harbin and his associates from a West Oakland group known as "3rd World" and Ward
and his associates from another West Oakland group known as "The Bottoms."

Reed had also been slated to stand trial on a murder charge but on April 12 she pleaded no contest to second-degree murder in an agreement with prosecutors that calls for her to testify against the other defendants in the

Her agreement calls for her second-degree murder conviction to be reduced to voluntary manslaughter and for her to be sentenced to 6 years in custody if a judge determines that her testimony was truthful.

Ward was also slated to stand trial but on April 12 he pleaded no contest to a felony count of being an accessory after the fact for hiding a gun that one of the suspects allegedly used in the shooting.

Ward's plea agreement calls for him to be placed on 5 years probation and for his conviction to be reduced to a misdemeanor if he complies with all the terms of his probation. His agreement doesn't call for him to testify.

Two other defendants, 31-year-old Shelton McDaniels, and 18-year-old Julian Ambrose, are expected to be prosecuted together later this year, possibly this summer.