An Oakland man who murdered two people in separate shootings five years ago and then plotted to kill eight witnesses to prevent them from testifying against him was sentenced today to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Alameda County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Horner said the plan by 33-year-old Michael Woods to kill the witnesses was “especially offensive, grievous and disgusting.” Horner said “who knows what would have happened” if sheriff’s deputies at the county jail hadn’t found Woods’ hit list.
Prosecutor Venus Johnson said the list “was chilling to read” because it was very detailed and contained the witnesses’ full names,
nicknames and addresses. A jury on Aug. 2 convicted Woods of first-degree murder for killing Bryant Sills on Sept. 14, 2005, and of second-degree murder for killing 18-year-old Reese Allen on Oct. 4, 2005. Woods was also convicted with a special circumstance clause for committing multiple murders. Johnson said Woods shot and killed Sills at the intersection of 80th Avenue and Alder Street in East Oakland just before 6 a.m. on Sept. 14, 2005. She said Woods, who was driving a white van, followed Sills as he
left the parking lot of the Quarter Pound Burger on International Boulevard. When Sills reached the stop sign at 80th Avenue and Alder Street, Woods pulled up next to him and got out of his vehicle with a fully loaded 9 mm gun, according to Johnson. She said Woods walked up to the passenger window of Sills’ vehicle, put his hand inside the passenger window and shot Sills in the face.
Woods fled the scene immediately after the shooting. Johnson said it’s not clear why Woods targeted Sills, but she thinks the most reasonable scenario is that two men got into an altercation in the parking lot at the Quarter Pound Burger because Woods followed Sills “intently.” Johnson said that 20 days after Sills was killed, on Oct. 4, 2005, Woods shot and killed Allen in the 8200 block of International Avenue, which is just a few blocks away from the first shooting. She said Woods was attempting to purchase drugs from Allen, but when Allen refused to sell them to him, Woods pulled out his fully loaded 9 mm gun and fired four shots. Allen was hit twice, with one of the bullets piercing his heart, according to Johnson. Woods was arrested on an unrelated parole violation shortly after the second shooting, Johnson said. She said Woods claimed self-defense in both shootings but jurors rejected his claim by convicting him of the two murder counts. Johnson said Sills wasn’t armed and no weapons were found at the scene of the first shooting. She said Allen had a revolver in his back pocket in the second incident but never pulled it out. Johnson said Woods’ hit list was found while he was in custody in 2007. Woods filed several grievances about how he was treated by sheriff’s deputies, who placed him in administrative segregation away from other county jail inmates. But Johnson said Woods has been involved in “numerous behavioral issues in custody, including fighting with other inmates and throwing chairs at deputies.” Woods’ attorney, Thomas Broome, declined to comment on the case after Woods was sentenced.
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