General Crime

Maurice Barrow convicted of murdering Otis Lee Key in Oakland

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An Oakland man has been convicted of one count of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder for his role in a West Oakland shooting in August 2012 that left a 46-year-old man dead and two people wounded. Prosecutor Georgia Santos said today that 28-year-old Maurice Barrow was one of three people who used semi-automatic weapons to fire at least 55 shots at a home in the 700 block of Sycamore Street at about 8 p.m. on Aug. 24, 2012.

Otis Lee Key was killed in the shooting; Craig Phillips, an admitted drug dealer, was injured; and a 7-year-old boy was grazed in his neck but survived. Jurors, who delivered their verdict on Tuesday afternoon after deliberating for less than a day, also convicted Barrow of two counts of assault with a semi-automatic firearm and possession of a firearm by a felon. Barrow has three prior felony convictions for second-degree robbery, grand theft and possession for sale of cocaine base, which could add to his state prison term when he is sentenced by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Thomas Reardon on Nov. 22.

Barrow already faces a potential term of life in prison even without considering his prior convictions. Santos said the motive for the shooting isn’t totally clear that but she believes Barrow may have wanted to retaliate for a shooting three days earlier in which he was shot in the arm. A second man, 22-year-old Danny Thong, stood trial with Barrows on identical charges but Reardon dismissed the charges against Thong during the trial, saying there was insufficient evidence. Santos said the investigation into the shooting is continuing and Oakland police are still trying to find the third man they believe was involved in the shooting.

The prosecutor said it is unclear whether Barrow fired one of the bullets that struck and killed Key, but he was convicted of murder because the evidence established that he was shooting toward the house and had an intent to kill. Barrow’s attorney, David Kelvin, questioned the credibility of victim Phillips, who was a key prosecution witness, alleging that Phillips had a motive to lie because he wanted to have federal drug charges against him dismissed, according to Santos. But Santos said the evidence in the case corroborates Phillips’ testimony and that other witnesses also identified Barrow as one of the shooters.

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