An Oakland judge ruled today that playing music too loud isn’t sufficient reason for someone to be killed. Alameda County Superior Court Judge Thomas Reardon made that finding after defense attorney David Kelvin argued that 22-year-old Blair Robertson provoked his client, 21-year-old Van Surrell, by playing music too loud in an incident in the 700 block of East 11th Street in Oakland on Feb. 16. At the end of a preliminary hearing for Surrell, Reardon expressed surprise at Kelvin’s argument, asking, “That’s legal provocation?” Robertson was stabbed to death in the incident. Oakland police officer Eric Milina said in a probable cause statement that Surrell and Robertson got into a fight but Robertson was walking away from it when Surrell grabbed a knife, pushed a witness out of the way and fatally stabbed him.
Kelvin argued that Van Surrell acted in self-defense, but Reardon disagreed. “You can’t say I started a fight and now I’m provoked so I killed him in self-defense,” Reardon said. Reardon ruled that prosecutors produced sufficient evidence to have Surrell face a trial on a murder charge and an enhancement clause that he used a knife to kill Robertson. Surrell, who is being held without bail, is scheduled to return to court on Aug. 6 to have a trial date set.
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