An Oakland man was sentenced today to 25 years to life in state prison for a 2003 murder in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood. Joevon Bowen, 33, was found guilty by a San Francisco Superior Court jury of fatally shooting 26-year-old Armando Arce early the morning of Feb. 19, 2003, near the intersection of Polk Street and Willow Alley.
Arce was shot 12 times just hours after two other men were murdered in Oakland as part of an apparent gang initiation for a new branch of the “Nut Cases,” a notorious Oakland street gang, prosecutors said. Bowen was long suspected in Arce’s killing, but was not arrested until 2009, following the conviction of another man in Alameda County the previous year for his role as a lookout in the shooting.
The lookout, Monterrio Davis, of Oakland, was convicted in 2008 of three counts of first-degree murder for Arce’s killing and the Oakland murders, and was later sentenced to life in prison. Alameda County prosecutors said Davis, Bowen and others had been part of a plan to start a new branch of the “Nut Cases” after the gang became weakened in early 2003 when many of its leaders were arrested.
The murders in Oakland and San Francisco were considered a test of the suspects’ dependability and loyalty, according to Alameda County prosecutors. Several of Arce’s family members spoke at Bowen’s sentencing this afternoon.
The victim’s aunt, Alice Arce, said, “I want to see him sit in a concrete room for as long as the law allows it.” Bowen declined to make a statement at the hearing, but his defense attorney, Mark Iverson of the public defender’s office, said Bowen “is a man who cares deeply about what happened to Mr. Arce,” and “is not the wicked, monster sociopath type of personality.”
Judge James Collins sentenced Bowen to the state prison term, with 650 days’ credit for time served. He was also ordered to pay $2,861 in restitution along with other court fees.
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