General Crime

* Lawrence Denard pleaded not guilty in the drive-by shooting death of 3-year-old Carlos Nava in East Oakland

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The suspected gunman and the suspected driver in the drive-by shooting death of 3-year-old Carlos Nava in East Oakland on Aug. 8 both pleaded not guilty today to one count of murder and two counts of attempted murder. Lawrence Denard, 26, the suspected shooter, and 22-year-old Willie Torrence, the suspected driver, both of Oakland, are scheduled to return to Alameda County Superior Court on Oct. 17 for a pretrial hearing.

Oakland police said they believe the shooting in the 6400 block of International Boulevard at about 1:10 p.m. on Aug. 8 was gang-related and that Denard’s intended targets were two adult males who were wounded but survived. They said Carlos and his family, who were shopping at the time, had no connection to the two male adult victims.Denard was arrested in Pittsburg on Aug. 9.

He has prior convictions for grand theft and possession of a firearm by a felon. Torrence was arrested in Las Vegas on Aug. 12 and was extradited to Alameda County two weeks ago.Torrence was on parole for violating his probation for a previous conviction on illegal gun charges. Oakland police said they believe Torrence was the driver in the shooting.

According to a probable cause statement filed in court by detectives, Torrence gave a taped statement to Oakland homicide investigators denying any involvement in the shooting. In addition to his prior conviction on illegal gun charges, Torrence also was convicted of robbery when he was a juvenile and declared a ward of the juvenile court system, according to court records. Family members and friends of Denard and Torrence attended the brief hearing today but left the courtroom without speaking to reporters. Carlos’s family did not attend the hearing.

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