A Hayward man faces at least 30 years to life in state prison after being convicted of attempted murder for shooting a longtime friend over a $300 marijuana debt three years ago. Prosecutor Adam Maldonaldo said 22-year-old Nateel Sharma got into an argument with the victim, who was 19 years old at the time, outside Sharma’s home on Newhall Street in Hayward the night of Sept. 15, 2011, because the victim owed him money for marijuana.
A short time later, Sharma and the victim got into a fight and Sharma armed himself with a 12-gauge shotgun and raised the barrel of the shotgun to his stomach, Maldonaldo said. The victim then put the barrel of the shotgun on the center of his stomach and dared Sharma to shoot him in front of a crowd of about 10 people who had gathered to watch the confrontation, according to Maldonaldo.
Sharma paused for several seconds and then fired a single birdshot round into the victim’s stomach at point-blank range, Maldonaldo said. Sharma fled the area with his sister, Neshal Sharma, 20, and they tried to drive to San Mateo to escape police but Hayward police stopped them just before they got onto the freeway, according to Maldonaldo. The victim suffered a “softball-sized hole” in his stomach but was able to survive the shooting, Maldonaldo said.
In addition to convicting Nateel Sharma of attempted murder in their verdict on Thursday, they convicted him of assault with a firearm and an enhancement clause for personally discharging a firearm and causing great bodily injury. Neshal Sharma was convicted of being an accessory after the fact and faces up to three years in state prison. The Sharmas are scheduled to be sentenced by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Cecilia Castellanos on July 25.
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