General Crime

Althea Housley Blames Lack Of Funds For Motive In Fatal Oakland Armed Robbery

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An Oakland woman testified today that she and her ex-boyfriend carried out two armed robberies three years ago, including one in which a man was killed, because they’d run out of money even though they received government assistance. In her second day of testifying against George Huggins, 26, who’s accused of murder for the shooting death of a Virginia man in downtown Oakland in 2010 while the victim was visiting the Bay Area for a job interview at Google, Althea Housley, 36, said, they were “broke” and “had run out of food.” Housley said she received welfare payments and Huggins received disability and unemployment payments but they didn’t have any more money and “my kids was hungry.” Huggins is charged with murder and attempted robbery for an incident in the 1900 block of Webster Street at about 11:30 p.m. on July 18, 2010, in which he allegedly tried rob 45-year-old Jinghong Kang and then fatally shot him.

Huggins also is charged with two counts of robbery for allegedly robbing a man and woman in the 1700 block of Telegraph Avenue early the morning of June 21, 2010, several weeks before Kang was killed. Huggins allegedly shot the male victim in the leg in that incident. Prosecutor Tim Wellman told jurors in his opening statement last week that police ballistics experts have determined that the same .22-caliber handgun was used in both incidents. Housley faced similar charges for allegedly participating with Huggins in both incidents, but on Feb. 20 she pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter and attempted robbery for that incident and to two counts of attempted robbery for the earlier incident on Telegraph Avenue. Wellman said if her testimony against Huggins is found to be
truthful she will receive a sentence of 15 years and eight months in state prison.

Wellman said Oakland police obtained video footage of the suspects in the July 18, 2010, incident that was captured by surveillance cameras at nearby businesses that shows Huggins and Housley approaching Kang and a dental hygienist who was with him because she had cleaned Kang’s teeth that night. Huggins and Housley were arrested after witnesses said they were the two people in the videos. However, Huggins’ lawyer, Annie Beles, said in her opening statement that her client is innocent of murder and alleged that the person shown on video with Housley was not Huggins. Under cross-examination by Beles today, Housley admitted that the videos don’t show Huggins’ face and it’s hard to identify him from the videos but she insisted that he was the man who was with her that night.

Housley also conceded that she agreed to plead guilty to lesser charges and testify against Huggins because she now faces a shorter sentence than if she had been convicted of murder, but she said, “I’m also telling the truth” about what happened in the two incidents. Even though she is testifying against Huggins, Housley said she still loves him.

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