A state appeals court in San Francisco has upheld three attempted-murder convictions and a 40-year sentence for a man who carried out a gang-related shooting in a Richmond church on Valentine’s Day in 2010.
Marcel Buggs, now 22, was 18 when he and two younger teenagers, all dressed in black hooded sweatshirts, entered the New Gethsemane Church of God in Christ in Richmond during a Sunday service attended by about 100 people on Feb. 14, 2010.
Buggs, a Richmond resident, fired five shots intended for a rival gang member, according to prosecutors. Instead, the bullets wounded the rival’s 19-year-old and 14-year-old brothers.
Buggs was tried as an adult in Contra Costa County Superior Court and was convicted of three counts of murder in 2011.
Judge John W. Kennedy sentenced him to 40 years in prison, saying, “To walk into a crowded church in the middle of ceremonies and fire rounds into a crowded pew full of dozens of people … demonstrates … a callous disregard for human life.”
Evidence at the trial included a YouTube video recorded shortly before the shooting in which Buggs, an aspiring rap artist, waved a gun and rapped about inflicting violence on people from North Richmond.
The conviction was unanimously upheld by a three-judge panel of the state Court of Appeal in a ruling issued on Monday. The court rejected Buggs’ appeal claims of errors in jury instructions.