An Oakland man was convicted of two counts of murder today for the shooting deaths of two men in broad daylight in West Oakland four years ago.
An Alameda County Superior Court jury deliberated for only about half a day before convicting DeShawn Reed, 30, of first-degree murder in the death of 29-year-old Victor Johns and second-degree murder for the death of 56-year-old John Jones.
Johns and Jones were both fatally shot in the 1000 block of 30th Street in Oakland at about 2:35 p.m. on March 5, 2010.
Reed’s body trembled before the jury’s verdict was announced but he appeared to be calm afterward.
Prosecutor Autrey James told jurors in his closing argument on Thursday that the motive for the shooting is unclear but he thinks all of the evidence in the case, including the witnesses’ testimony, points to Reed being the person who killed Johns and Jones.
James said after the verdict that he believes Reed and co-defendant Jason Watts drove to the scene to track down and kill Johns and also wound up killing Jones.
Reed’s lawyer, Spencer Strellis, said, “I think the jury’s verdict is wrong because I don’t think he (Reed) did it (the shootings).”
Strellis said in his closing argument that Reed should be found not guilty because of 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.
Strellis also suggested that the shooting might have been carried out by another man who was associated with the vehicle that was used in the incident because that man was in the area at the time and was well-known to Oakland police.
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 was 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.
In addition, he said the gun that was used in the shooting was never found.
In his closing argument, 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 was later deemed mentally fit enough to be prosecuted.
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 term when he’s sentenced by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Gloria Rhynes on July 11.
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