A man described as “a cold-blooded killer” was sentenced today to life in prison without the possibility of parole for murdering two men in a gang-related shooting in Berkeley three years ago.
Desmen Lankford, 27, was convicted on Sept. 12 of two counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of Kelvin Earl Davis, 23, of Berkeley, and Kevin Antoine Parker, 42, of Oakland, in front of a small apartment complex at 1436 Derby St. in Berkeley about 12:15 a.m. on Sept. 18, 2008. He also was convicted of the special circumstance of committing multiple murders.
Alameda County Deputy Probation Officer Karen Lee said in a sentencing report that Lankford has never expressed any remorse for murdering the two victims. “It can be simply surmised that he is a cold-blooded killer,” Lee said. Prosecutor Jim Meehan said Lankford actually wanted to find and shoot Kelvin Davis’s twin brother, Melvin Davis, three years ago but when he could not locate Melvin Davis he decided to go after his brother.
The Davis brothers were both drug dealers who were known to Berkeley police, according to Meehan. He said Lankford was affiliated with a gang that called itself “The Cold Gunners From North Oakland.” Meehan said Lankford fatally shot Kelvin Davis but also wound up fatally shooting Parker because Parker was with Davis.
Parker refurbished cars and had just finished selling a used car to Davis in front of the apartment complex where he lived when Lankford opened fire, Meehan said. Authorities believe that a second man helped Lankford and also fired shots but that suspect was never arrested or charged, Meehan said. He said the investigation remains open.
Davis and Parker both were pronounced dead at the scene. Meehan said Lankford was arrested after police searched an Oakland apartment where authorities believe he lived and found a gun that was used in the shooting as well as bullets similar to those used in the shooting. Police also found a hooded sweatshirt with a skeleton design that a witness said the shooting suspect wore, Meehan said.
In addition, police found a camera that had a photo of Lankford proudly holding two guns, including one similar to the SIG Sauer semi-automatic pistol used in the shooting, Meehan said. Lankford’s attorney, Thomas Broome, said he will appeal Lankford’s convictions, saying the prosecution’s witnesses weren’t credible because they have substantial criminal histories.
Alice Price, who was Parker’s fiancie, told Lankford at today’s hearing, “You not only killed our loved one, you destroyed an entire family.” Kelvin Davis’ cousin, Vonzetta Golson, sarcastically “thanked” Lankford for what she was “his stupidity in running his mouth off about the crime” in phone calls and letters that were monitored by law enforcement authorities. Golson said Lankford’s actions after the crime led to his arrest
and “helped justice be done.” Lankford didn’t speak at his sentencing hearing.
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