An Oakland man who fatally shot a friend while playing with his gun and then dumped his friend’s body in the middle of a street near Highland Hospital has been convicted of second-degree murder. Michael Campbell will face at least 25 years to life in state
prison for the death of 17-year-old Derial Morris Jr. on April 18, 2007, and as much as 43 years to life when Alameda County Superior Court Judge Leo Dorado sentences him on Oct. 28. Jurors deliberated for only a day before delivering their verdict
against Campbell, 20, Wednesday afternoon following an eight-day trial. Prosecutor Melissa Krum said the shooting occurred when Campbell, Morris and five other teenage friends were sitting around, smoking marijuana and trading insults in a high-rise apartment in the Acorn housing project in the 700 block of Market Street. Krum said Campbell had just been put on probation the previous month for a possession of a stolen vehicle conviction but he was carrying and playing with a gun. She said Campbell had his finger on the gun’s trigger while he was telling a story and then the gun went off and a bullet went straight through
Morris’s head, killing him instantly. The prosecutor said Campbell and several other young men at the party then put Morris into a shopping cart, took him down an elevator, put him in a car and drove toward Highland Hospital. But Campbell wound up dumping Morris’s body in the middle of East 31st Street in Oakland, about a quarter of a mile from Highland Hospital, Krum said. An off-duty janitor almost ran over Morris’s body but he stopped his car and called 911, according to Krum. Campbell was arrested at his home in the 1300 block of East 27th Street, which is also near Highland, three weeks later, on May 12, 2007,
after a four-hour standoff with police. Campbell’s lawyer, Andrea Brown, couldn’t be reached for comment today. Krum said Brown told jurors that she thought the shooting was an excusable homicide because it was an accident. But Krum said she told jurors that Campbell should be convicted of murder because he acted with reckless disregard for human life. The prosecutor said she told jurors the shooting should only be considered an accident if they believed that Campbell acted “with the care and caution of a normal human being.” Krum said it can be difficult to find that an unintentional shooting was a murder but she said the jurors in the case “got it” because “they’re sick of our kids killing other kids.” Morris is survived by his mother, Anita Morris. Krum said Derial Morris was Anita Morris’s only child and “she has no child now.”
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