An Oakland man who was an aspiring rapper has been sentenced to 50 years to life in state prison for fatally shooting another man outside an East Oakland burger restaurant in April because he thought the man had stolen his iPod. Pierre Rushing, 22, was convicted on Sept. 28 of first-degree murder for killing Dawonye Taylor, 25, in front of Quarter Pound Giant Burger at 8026 International Blvd. on April 15. He was sentenced by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Gloria Rhynes on Wednesday. Prosecutor Greg Dolge said the sequence of events that led to Taylor’s death began around 3:45 a.m. on April 15 at a building at 1406 77th Ave., where both Taylor and Rushing had both been prior to the shooting. Taylor exited the building first and walked east on International Boulevard, according to the prosecutor.
Dolge said Rushing came out a short time later and asked for a ride from two people who had come to the building to buy some cocaine. As they were driving on International Boulevard, according to the prosecutor, Rushing spotted Taylor and was heard saying he believed Taylor had taken his iPhone. Rushing ordered the driver to make a U-turn, and the car pulled up next to Taylor in front of the Quarter Pound Giant Burger, according to Dolge. Dolge said Rushing then got out of the car and shot Taylor a single time in what he described as “a street-style execution.” Rushing, the two drug buyers and another person who was in the car all drove away after the shooting, Dolge said. But two weeks after the shooting, one of the drug buyers in the car approached a police officer and identified Rushing as Taylor’s killer, Dolge said. That man testified against Rushing in his trial, saying that when Rushing got out of the car and confronted Taylor, he twice asked, “Where’s my iPod?”
But under questioning by his attorney, John McDougall, Rushing claimed on the witness stand that he didn’t even know Taylor and didn’t own an iPod. “I don’t even listen to iPods, sir,” Rushing told McDougall. Rushing said, “I had nothing to do with this killing” and claimed that he was at his grandmother’s house having sex with a “lady friend” at the time of the shooting. Dolge said Rushing’s alibi was unbelievable because it was the third alibi Rushing offered since he was arrested. When a juror asked Rushing during the trial what device he uses to listen to music, Rushing said, “I don’t use a device” and said he only listens to music “with my ears.” Dolge said Rushing’s claim that he didn’t own an iPod and wasn’t knowledgeable about devices for listening to music wasn’t credible because he is in the music business and has recorded several rap videos.
One of the videos is titled “Get That Dough,” and most of it was filmed about a block away from where Taylor was killed. The video shows Rushing throwing money around, other people rolling and smoking marijuana joints and a man pointing a gun at the camera. McDougall declined to comment on Rushing’s sentence today. In his opening statement in the case, McDougall told jurors that there’s no direct evidence that Rushing is the person who killed Taylor and said the prosecution’s case is shaky because it’s based on the testimony of drug users and prostitutes whose credibility is suspect.
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