A 23-year-old Oakland man was sentenced today to 21 years in state prison for a voluntary manslaughter conviction for fatally shooting his girlfriend two years ago after she broke up with him and returned the ring he had given her. Prosecutor Danielle London sought a second-degree murder conviction for Jesse James Blue for the shooting death of 18-year-old Ayesha Thomason at her home at 9820 C Street at about 10:40 a.m. on June 16, 2009. But after deliberating for nearly four full days, jurors decided on July 18 to convict him of the lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter instead
Jurors also convicted Blue of using a gun, specifically a Glock pistol, to kill Thomason. London said Thomason had spent the night before her death with Blue at his home, and in the morning she broke up with him and returned a ring to him. She said Blue went to Thomason’s home a few hours later, banged on her window and convinced her to open her door. London said she believes Blue shot Thomason on purpose, but Blue testified during his trial that the gun went off accidentally while he and Thomason were struggling over it. Blue “didn’t take responsibility” for killing Thomason, London said. London said evidence was introduced at Blue’s trial that showed he had a history of anger toward Thomason and had beaten her twice during their nine-month-long relationship. Blue would have faced a state prison term of 40 years to life if he had been convicted of first-degree murder and using a gun.
Alameda County Superior Court Judge Allan Hymer gave Blue the maximum sentence based on his convictions: 11 years for voluntary manslaughter and 10 years for using a gun. Blue’s attorney, Youseef Elias, asked that Blue be given only six years in prison, the lightest sentence possible, and said afterward that he is “disappointed” that Blue was given such a tough sentence. Elias said he thinks Blue should have been given some leniency because he did not have a prior record, he had a job and he was a student and a basketball player at Merritt College in Oakland. Elias said the jurors did not believe that Blue intended to kill Thomason and after they announced their verdict they wanted to know why he had been charged with murder instead of manslaughter. London said, “I’m disappointed that the jury didn’t come back with a second-degree murder conviction but I respect their verdict and I’m happy with his sentence.”
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