A trial began today for a 25-year-old Richmond man accused of shooting two of his best friends on Interstate Highway 80 in Pinole in 2008, killing one and leaving the other disabled. Aaron Myers is on trial for killing Rhonda White, 25, and injuring Donald Ray “Donnaray” Allison in the April 3 shooting. He is charged with first-degree murder, four counts attempted murder and shooting into an occupied vehicle. Myers and White grew up together in Richmond’s Parchester Village. Their houses had adjoining backyards and their parents removed part of the fence to let the two children play together, Myers’ attorney David Headley said during opening statements in Contra Costa County Superior Court in Martinez today. Allison also grew up in Parchester Village and was best friends with Myers. The two had never had so much as an argument with each other and referred to one another as “brother,” Headley said. Those friendships ended on April 3, 2008, when Myers and his friend Brian Young, 22, shot White and Allison while they were driving on Interstate Highway 80 in Pinole. Prosecutor Mark Peterson argued that the attack was unprovoked and Myers was guilty of first-degree murder. However, Headley argued that Myers, who had been shot at two months earlier, didn’t recognize his friends that night, panicked and shot them in what he believed was self-defense. “He thought honestly that he was about to get shot because that happens in his world,” Headley said. On the night of the shooting, White, Allison and three friends had
gone to the bowling alley in Pinole, but White didn’t have any socks on and the bowling alley didn’t have an extra pair to lend her so they decided to go
to the bowling alley in Albany, Christopher Robinson testified today. Robinson, 18, was one of the three people riding in the back seat of White’s car during the shooting, but wasn’t hit. The other two passengers in the backseat, Ashley Davis and Sean Wydermyer, also escaped injury. As they were driving west on I-80, Myers passed them.”There goes Aaron,” White said and gave a little wave, Robinson said. Allison flashed two peace signs to the passing car, according to
Robinson.A few seconds later, Myers and Young started shooting at White’s car, striking it at least 14 times with an AK-47 and a .38 caliber handgun,
according to Peterson. According to Headley, White had recently bought a new car, a bluePontiac, and Myers didn’t recognize it. In a moment of panic, he pushed his pregnant girlfriend’s head down and shot over her, shattering his window and the windows in White’s car, Headley said. White was gasping for breath and Allison sat slumped in the passenger seat saying “I’m hit. I’m hit,” as the car veered off the roadway, Robinson said. Wydermyer, however, was able to reach over from the back seat and grab the steering wheel. He steered the car back onto the shoulder, put it in neutral and pulled the emergency break.
White died at the scene and Allison was airlifted to John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek, where he remained for two months. Myers’ girlfriend, Tiana Sheppard, crashed Myers’ car a few minutes later and the three took off running through the weeds. Not knowing who they had shot, Sheppard called a friend to come pick them up. The friend turned out to be White’s cousin, Headley said. When they found out they had killed White and critically injured Allison, Myers, Young and Sheppard were so upset they were almost suicidal, Headley said. “It makes absolutely no sense as anything but a very tragic mistake,” Headley said. Peterson, however, argued that there was no evidence that Myers had acted in self-defense. Later that night, somebody shot at Myers’ father’s house in Parchester Village and Myers fled to Las Vegas. Sheppard turned herself into police in Pinole a few days later. Myers later turned himself in to police in Las Vegas.Sheppard has pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact and was sentenced to a year in county jail and felony probation. Young is
still awaiting trail.
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