General Crime

* Fremont Man Keith Stamps Convicted Of Murdering Elric Wheeler Of Fremont At Meadow Square Shopping Center

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A 19-year-old Union City man has been convicted of first-degree murder for shooting to death a 24-year-old man at a small shopping center in Fremont as a large group of high school students watched.Keith Stamps faces a term of 50 years to life in state prison for the Oct. 23, 2007, death of Elric Wheeler of Fremont when he is sentenced by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Roy Hashimoto on Aug. 17.Jurors announced their verdict against Stamps on Thursday after deliberating about three-and-a-half days.Prosecutor Tom Burke said today that the shooting occurred following “a rapidly escalating dispute between two groups” that involved a botched drug deal, a dog and a bungled carjacking.Burke said Wheeler and his friends and Stamps and his friends were involved in two drug deals shortly before the shooting incident but one the deals went bad and tensions between the two groups escalated.In addition, Stamps thought that Wheeler’s group had stolen his Chihuahua, according to Burke.The prosecutor said that Wheeler and two friends were at the  in the 41200 block of Blacow Road in Fremont during the noon hour on Oct. 23, 2007, when Stamps and two companions pointed a gun at one of Wheeler’s friends and asked where the Chihuahua was.Stamps and his companions also sought to take the car that Wheeler and his friends were in, Burke said.A few moments later, Stamps shot Wheeler in the chest, police said. Wheeler died at the scene.Stamps and two other men were arrested at a house at 5019 Hutton St. in Fremont following a six-hour standoff with police.Burke said the two men who were with Stamps were never charged but declined to elaborate.Burke said a large group of Irvington High School students witnessed the shooting because the shopping mall is across the street from their school and they were at the mall during their lunch break.Stamps’ attorney, Brian Hong, couldn’t be reached for comment today.

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