An Oakland teenager has been charged with murder for the drive-by killing of Skyline High School football player Eric Toscano while he was celebrating his 18th birthday at a party at his home in March. The suspect, John Martinez, a reputed gang member who turned 18 on Aug. 22, was also charged Tuesday with the special circumstance of committing a murder during a drive-by shooting, three counts of attempted murder and three counts of assault with a firearm, according to Alameda County Chief Deputy District Attorney Tom Rogers. Toscano was killed at his family’s house in the 7800 block of Ney Avenue in Oakland at about 10:35 p.m. on March 27. Martinez was arrested at about 5:30 p.m. last Friday near his home in the 7400 block of Oakland. A warrant for his arrest was issued in June. Oakland police said Martinez released two dogs on officers who tried to arrest him, but the officers eventually killed one of the dogs and chased down Martinez, who’s being held without bail at the Glenn Dyer Jail in Oakland. Rogers said Martinez was at Toscano’s birthday party, which was attended by about 50 to 60 people, but got into an argument with other people and left. Martinez returned to the party about 30 minutes later, but Toscano’s father wouldn’t let him back inside, according to Rogers. The prosecutor said Martinez drove up to the house again about 30 minutes after that and opened fire on people who were standing out front. Toscano was killed, and three others were wounded but eventually recovered, Rogers said. Although Martinez was only 17 at the time of the shooting, he’s being prosecuted as an adult, Rogers said. Because Martinez was a juvenile at the time, however, he can’t face the death penalty or life in prison without parole even though he’s charged with special circumstances murder, Rogers said. The special circumstances murder clause would only come into play if Martinez is convicted, serves his time and faces a parole board, Rogers said.
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