General Crime

* Antioch Prosecutors Charge Willie Morris Clay II, 42, For The Homicide Of Gary Lloyd Townsend, 46

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The Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office filed murder charges today against an Antioch man who allegedly shot a longtime acquaintance Monday evening because he blamed him for his son’s murder, officials said.Willie Morris Clay II, 42, was charged with murder with an enhancement for the use of a gun and a special circumstances allegation of lying in wait in connection with the death of Gary Lloyd Townsend, 46, according to court records.According to police, the two men had known each other for the past decade.At one time, Clay belonged to a motorcycle club Townsend founded, and both men were arrested for distributing drugs in Alameda County in the 1990s, according to Antioch police Lt. Leonard Orman. Clay allegedly told investigators that he blames Townsend for his financial troubles during that period.Clay left the motorcycle club in 2006 on bad terms, police said. Soon after, his 19-year-old son was killed in a drive-by shooting in Oakland. Clay allegedly received information that led him to believe Townsend had killed his son, police said.From then on, Clay allegedly told officers, he carried a gun with him every day hoping for a chance to avenge his son’s murder.He allegedly told investigators that he saw Townsend at a strip mall at 2301 Buchanan Road on Monday and waited near the exit for him to drive by.Clay allegedly shot Townsend several times as he drove away from the strip mall and then several more times after he fell to the ground, police said.Police found Townsend lying dead next to his motorcycle at about 5:45 p.m. Witness statements led officers to a nearby home where the suspect was believed to be hiding. Police surrounded the home and, a short time later, detained Clay’s girlfriend’s 14-year-old daughter as she was attempting to leave through the backyard with a gun, Orman said. Investigators don’t believe the girl was involved in the killing.Clay later surrendered outside the house. He is scheduled to be arraigned in Contra Costa County Superior Court in Martinez on Friday afternoon. His bail has been set at $1 million, according to court records.

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