A Mendocino County man was sentenced today to 15 years to life in state prison for killing a man at an Alameda apartment complex three years ago during a scheme to steal marijuana from the man.
Richard Ezell, 25, of Laytonville, pleaded no contest earlier this year to second-degree murder for the fatal shooting of 32-year-old William Adrian Falcon Sapp, at the Summer House Apartments at Buena Vista Avenue and Poggi Street on April 20, 2011.
Although Ezell killed Sapp, prosecutor Patrick Moriarty said another man, 25-year-old Christopher Donaldson, set the plot in motion by contacting Sapp through Craigslist. Sapp grew marijuana legally for medical marijuana clubs and offered marijuana for sale.
Moriarty said Donaldson didn’t intend to buy marijuana from Sapp, but instead arranged for 32-year-old Charles Kimbrough of Hercules and Ezell to rob Sapp at the apartment complex.
However, Moriarty said Sapp fought back against Kimbrough and Ezell and Ezell shot and killed him.
Kimbrough and Ezell both pleaded no contest to second-degree murder for their roles in the death of Sapp in an agreement with prosecutors that called for them to get sentenced to 15 years to life in state prison in return for testifying against Donaldson.
Ezell kept his part of the deal by testifying against Donaldson, who was convicted of first-degree murder on June 11 and was sentenced to 32 years to life in state prison on Aug. 15.
But Kimbrough refused to testify so his plea agreement was thrown out and he stood trial last month. He was convicted of first-degree murder on Aug. 27 and faces a term of 26 years to life in state prison when he’s sentenced on Oct. 31.
Moriarty said Ezell’s plea deal only obligated him to testify against Donaldson but he also agreed to testify against Kimbrough.
During Kimbrough’s trial, Moriarty said that although Kimbrough isn’t the one who shot Ezell, he should be convicted under the felony murder rule because he planned to participate in a robbery that he knew could involve violence.
The prosecutor said Sapp, who lived at a warehouse loft in Oakland, had a duffel bag of marijuana worth $1,550 when he was killed.
Moriarty said Kimbrough brought a fake gun to use in the robbery but Sapp carried a real gun because people had stolen marijuana from him before.
He said Sapp fought back fought back when Kimbrough tried to rob him but his gun fell to the ground and Ezell grabbed it and fired a single shot that killed him.
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