General Crime

Prosecutor Asks Jurors To Convict 30-year-old Deshawn Reed Of Two Counts Of Murder In Oakland

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A prosecutor asked jurors today to convict 30-year-old DeShawn Reed of two counts of murder for the shooting deaths of two men in West Oakland four years ago even though he admitted he doesn’t know the motive for the shooting and lacks several key items of evidence.

Prosecutor Autrey James said he would “love” to have the gun that he believes Reed used and the hoodie that he believes Reed wore in the fatal shooting of 29-year-old Victor Johns and 56-year-old John Jones, in the 1000 block of 30th Street in Oakland at about 2:35 p.m. on March 5.

And James conceded that he has been unable to establish a motive for the shooting, adding that “sometimes a motive makes it easy” to prove a case.

But James said that all the evidence in the case, including all the witnesses’ testimony, still “points to Mr. Reed” as being the person who killed Johns and Jones.

And while the motive isn’t known, he said “We know that two people (Reed and co-defendant Jason Watts) went there to kill and two people died.”

He told jurors, “When you follow the evidence, you will find Mr. Reed guilty of murder.”

But Reed’s lawyer, Spencer Strellis, said Reed should be found not guilty because the lack of a motive and discrepancies about the clothing Reed was wearing at the time of the shooting mean “there’s too much reasonable doubt” to convict him.

Witnesses who saw the shooting said the shooter was wearing all black clothes and a black hoodie but Oakland police Officer Michael Osanna said Reed was wearing a checkered or plaid shirt when he arrested him a short time afterward.

James said he believes the discrepancy can be explained by a witness who identified Reed as the shooter shortly after the shooting and told police that Reed had changed shirts.

But Strellis said he doesn’t think Reed would have had enough time to change shirts because he was arrested only moments after the shooting.

There was only “an infinitesimal time” between the shooting and Reed’s arrest, Strellis said.

In addition, he said the gun that was used in the shooting was never found.

Strellis said, “We have no gun, we have no hoodie and frankly we have no case.”

Reed initially was declared mentally incompetent to stand trial but he’s now been deemed fit for prosecution.

Jurors began deliberating Reed’s fate late today and will resume their deliberations on Friday.

Watts, 28, the other defendant in the case, was convicted in December 2012 of two counts of first-degree murder and the special circumstance of committing multiple murders for being the driver in the incident.

Watts was sentenced last year to life in state prison without the possibility of parole. Reed faces the same sentence if he’s convicted.

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