A man and woman have been ordered to stand trial on murder charges in a case in which a 21-year-old woman was fatally shot at an East Oakland apartment in an argument that allegedly started over a dispute over a small amount of marijuana. Larry Alford and Donisha Rene Allen, both 22, are charged in connection with the death of Demetria Spears at their apartment complex in the 1900 block of 85th Avenue at about 9:35 p.m. on Aug. 25.
Spears’ cousin, Diahletris Simpson, who lived across the hall from Alford and Allen at the apartment complex, testified on Thursday that Allen told her on Aug. 21, four days before the shooting, that she was mad at Spears because Spears had “sold her some bad weed.” Simpson said on the next day, Aug. 22, Allen and Spears and others got into a fistfight. Simpson testified that in the following days Allen made threats against Spears and told her that she wanted to fight Spears. Simpson said her front window was broken out when she wasn’t at her apartment and she decided to move because she decided she no longer wanted to live next door to Alford and Allen, who are boyfriend and girlfriend. Simpson said she returned to her apartment with some friends on the evening of Aug. 25 to move out but after about 20 minutes Allen and Spears exchanged words.
At one point, Simpson testified, Spears became upset and threw Alford’s barbecue grill off the walkway on the second floor, where they lived. Simpson said Alford then went into his apartment, grabbed a rifle and fired three shots. Oakland police said the shots killed Spears and wounded her 14-year-old cousin, who survived the injuries he suffered in the shooting and testified at the preliminary hearing for Alford and Allen, which spanned parts of two days.
At the end of the hearing late Thursday, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Gloria Rhynes ruled that prosecutors presented enough evidence to have Alford and Allen stand trial. Alford and Allen are charged with murder for Spears’ death and attempted murder for the shooting of Spears’ cousin. Alford is accused of being the shooter and Allen is accused of aiding and abetting him. Allen was arrested shortly after the shooting and Alford turned himself in to police at Oakland police headquarters on Sept. 5 after he had spent hours talking to Allen, his family members and teachers at a local college.
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