An Oakland man was convicted of first-degree murder today for fatally shooting another man during a discussion about the existence of God while they were both under the influence of alcohol, marijuana and cocaine. Douglas Yim, 33, looked straight ahead and showed no emotion when jurors, who deliberated for only a day and a half, announced their verdict against him for the death 25-year-old Dzuy Dunh Phan of Alameda at Yim’s home in the 3100 block of Herriott Avenue in Oakland in the early morning hours of April 2, 2011.
Yim faces more than 100 years in state prison when he’s sentenced by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Thomas Reardon on Nov. 8 because he also was convicted of assault with a firearm and mayhem for shooting another man, Paul Park, in the incident and has a prior felony conviction.
Prosecutor Allyson Donovan said Yim and Phan were friends but a conversation about the existence of God eventually sparked the shooting, which she described as “extremely senseless.” Donovan said Yim got upset when Phan said he didn’t believe in God and asked Yim where God was when Yim lost a video game and when Yim’s father collapsed and died of a stroke several years earlier. She said Yim threw his video game controller through a television screen at his home but Phan tried to calm him down. Yim didn’t respond, so Phan told Yim that if he was upset he should just go get his gun, Donovan said.
Yim waited five minutes, walked into his bedroom, grabbed and loaded his semi-automatic rifle and shot Phan six times, according to the prosecutor. Yim testified that he fired in self-defense because Phan had a black object in his hand that he thought was a gun.
But Donovan said Phan was only holding a cellphone, never had a gun and never threatened Yim. “This clearly was a murder that was carried out in execution style,” Donovan said. She said all six shots that Yim fired at Phan hit his body between his waist and his head and the final shot was fired less than a foot from Phan’s head as Phan lay on the ground while bleeding from the impact of the initial shots.
Yim testified during the trial that, “I was really drunk that night” and said he remembered the first shot and the last shot but not the shots in between. His attorney, Mario Andrews, said after the verdict today that he thinks Yim should only have been convicted of manslaughter under the theory of imperfect self-defense because he thinks Yim didn’t intend to kill Phan and shot at him with the mistaken belief that Phan had a gun. Andrews also said he doesn’t think Yim fully knew what he was doing because he was under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
Donovan said Yim was mildly impaired but “knew what he was doing” because he was able to talk away from the scene, get rid of the murder weapon, drive out of town and buy new clothes. “He was able to make the decision to kill and the jury got it completely right,” Donovan said.