A man has been convicted of second-degree murder for fatally shooting Samuel Nava III, a popular 17-year-old Hayward High School student and varsity baseball player, more than three years ago after a confrontation in a park. An Alameda County Superior Court jury deliberated for two days before reaching a verdict on Monday.
Jurors also convicted the defendant, 23-year-old Robert Joseph Yim, of three counts of attempted murder for shooting at three people who were with Nava. The shooting occurred at about 6:45 p.m. on May 3, 2010. Prosecutor Elgin Lowe said Yim was eating at a table with his girlfriend and her 1-year-old daughter at Stonybrook Park in Hayward when he got into a stare-down with Nava and three friends, who were sitting in a car parked in a lot at the park.
Lowe said Yim was “mean mugging” Nava and his friends, so one of Nava’s friends, asked Yim, “Is there a problem?” The prosecutor said Taylor’s question “set Yim off” and Yim said something back to Nava and his friends and retrieved a gun from his girlfriend’s car. Lowe said Nava and his friends then drove off and probably would have gotten away unharmed if the friends had driven Nava straight home, but Nava instructed them to take a circuitous route so that Yim couldn’t follow him.
He said Nava and his friends then encountered Yim and his girlfriend at the corner of Mission Boulevard and Industrial Parkway a short time later by “happenstance.” Yim got out of his car and fired four shots, one of which hit Nava in the head and killed him, according to Lowe. None of the three people with Nava were injured but one of his friends would have been shot in the head if he hadn’t ducked because a bullet went through the window next to the right front passenger seat where Hallman was seated, Lowe said.
Yim’s girlfriend, 22-year-old Veronica Rodriguez, also was charged with murder and attempted murder but she was allowed to plead guilty to being an accessory in exchange for agreeing to testify for the prosecution against Yim. Yim’s attorney, Thomas Broome, declined to comment on the verdict today. Yim faces up to 69 years to life in state prison when he is sentenced by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Stuart Hing on March 14.
In a separate case, Yim is one of six reputed gang members who are charged with murder and acting to benefit a criminal street gang for the shooting death of 14-year-old student Vernon Eddins in front of Barnard-White Middle School on Whipple Road in Union City at about 3:20 p.m. on Dec. 21, 2007. The preliminary hearing in that case is scheduled to begin next Monday.
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