Four reputed gang members were convicted today of three counts of murder for a fatal shooting in Berkeley and a subsequent car chase that killed two people in Oakland. The four alleged members of the North Side Oakland gang face life in prison withou parole when they’re sentenced by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Thomas Reardon on July 12 because they also were convicted of two counts of special circumstances murder for killing multiple victims and to enhance the activities of a criminal street gang. In addition, jurors, who deliberated for less than two full days, convicted the four men of two counts of evading police causing death. In his closing argument, prosecutor Steve Dal Porto called the four reputed gang members “domestic terrorists” for their involvement in the fatal shooting of 25-year-old Charles Davis of Berkeley in the vicinity of Allston Way and 10th Street in West Berkeley at about 6:30 p.m. on May 16, 2009, and the fatal car crash a short time later. “They embrace a mindset, a culture, a way of life where gaining respect is brought about by how much fear, how much violence you can inflict on a community,” Dal Porto said.
Dal Porto said the fatal shooting of Davis stemmed from a feud the North Side Oakland gang has had with a rival Berkeley gang that started over a stolen car tire rim in 2002 and continued with the murders of three North Side Oakland gang members, including one only three weeks before Davis was slain. The prosecutor said the suspects wanted revenge and were looking for Davis’ brother but when they couldn’t find him they instead targeted Davis, who wasn’t a gang member. Davis was pronounced dead at the scene. The suspects fled the scene in a Cadillac at high rates of speed after Davis was shot, going through numerous stop signs as they took a circuitous route through Berkeley and Oakland, Dal Porto said. The Cadillac then crashed into a Mazda and a pedestrian at Aileen Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way in Oakland, killing both the Mazda driver, 27-year-old Todd Perea of Brentwood, and the pedestrian, 41-year-old Floyd Ross of Berkeley, according to Dal Porto.
After the crash, police arrested Stephon Anthony, 26, a San Leandro man accused of driving the Cadillac at the time that it crashed, and 30-year-old Anthony Price of Oakland. Two rifles were found on the passenger side of the car, Creighton said. However, Samuel Flowers, 25, who was accused of shooting Davis, and Rafael Campbell, 28, managed to flee on foot. Flowers was arrested in Bal Harbour, Fla., on May 25, 2009, and Campbell was arrested in Sacramento on Nov. 17, 2009, after he was profiled on the television program “America’s Most Wanted.” Defense lawyers for the four reputed gang members didn’t present any evidence in the lengthy trial. The only defense witness was a character witness who was called on behalf of Price. Flowers’ attorney, Alex Selvin, said Flowers should be found not guilty because he questioned the credibility of a key prosecution witness who testified that he saw Flowers fire shots at Davis. Defense attorneys for Campbell and Price also questioned the credibility of prosecution witnesses and said even if their clients were present during the shooting and car chase they didn’t know that there would be a shooting that day.
Anthony’s lawyer, Darryl Stallworth, admitted that Anthony was driving the car when it crashed and should be found guilty of two counts of evading police causing death for the deaths of Perea and Ross. But Stallworth said Anthony should be found not guilty of murder because there was a lack of evidence to prove that Anthony knew that Davis would be killed. The four defendants were all convicted of one count of first-degree murder for Davis’ death and two counts of second-degree murder for the deaths of Perea and Ross. Perea’s mother and Anthony’s family members cried when the verdict was announced but the four defendants didn’t show much emotion. Stallworth said the incident was “sad and tragic” but he still believes Anthony didn’t have an intent to kill Davis. He said Anthony is “remorseful” for killing Perea and Ross. Campbell’s lawyer, Andrea Auer, said Campbell is understandably “disappointed” in the verdict against him. Referring to the three people who were killed and the fact that the four defendants face life in prison without parole, Reardon noted that Mother’s Day is coming up soon but “seven moms are now shy of one son.”
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