General Crime

*Alameda Man Convicted Of Murdering Friend After Dispute

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A 20-year-old Alameda man was convicted of first-degree murder today for shooting to death a 19-year-old friend after the friend flirted with his girlfriend and sided with another man in a fight.An Alameda County Superior Court jury deliberated for three days before delivering its verdict against Michael James Edgar for the shooting death of Troy Lancaster at the Esperanza Housing Complex in Alameda early Aug. 4.Edgar, who looked straight ahead and showed no emotion when the jury’s verdict was read, faces at least 50 years to life in state prison when Judge Leo Dorado sentences him May 1 because jurors also found that he used a gun to kill Lancaster.Prosecutor Jim Meehan told jurors that Edgar and Lancaster, who attended Alameda High School and the College of Alameda and worked at the Alameda Theatre and Cineplex, were friends but Edgar got mad at Lancaster after Lancaster accused him of taking “a cheap shot” at another friend at the end of a fight.Meehan said the third man, who was a mutual friend of Edgar and Lancaster, had beaten up Edgar in two fights during a carousing spree that night but Edgar kicked the man in the face at the end of the second fight when the man was resting on the ground afterward Edgar accused Lancaster of “turning on him,” Meehan said.Later that night, Lancaster visited Edgar’s girlfriend at her home at the Esperanza Housing Complex, which is located on Alameda’s west end, near the former U.S. Navy base, according to Meehan.The prosecutor said the girlfriend, who is 17, “liked Michael (Edgar) better” but was friends with Lancaster and invited him over because she wanted him to deliver her job application at the cinema complex where he worked.
Meehan said, “Troy wanted to be more than friends” with the girlfriend and some of his text messages to her that night “were sexually explicit.”He said the girlfriend then “let Michael know that Troy was hitting on her.”The prosecutor said Lancaster and the girlfriend met at the housing complex’s courtyard but Edgar showed up a short while later, walked up to Lancaster and shot him twice at short range.Lancaster was still alive when police arrived at about 2:50 a.m. Aug. 4 and was taken to Highland Hospital in Oakland, where he was put on life support. He was pronounced dead at 4:20 p.m. that day.Edgar admitted during his trial that he had been with Lancaster and other mutual friends earlier that night but claimed he was at home with
his mother when Lancaster was shot.Meehan said jurors’ first-degree murder conviction shows that they didn’t believe Edgar.Meehan said Edgar’s “timetable didn’t work” because date and time stamps on his text messages didn’t corroborate his alibi testimony.

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