In an unusual move, an Oakland man pleaded guilty today to first-degree murder for the fatal shooting of a 35-year-old man in Alameda five years ago.
Daquan Lane, 25, entered his plea toward the end of a preliminary hearing for him and co-defendant Leondre Paige in the Sept. 11, 2010 shooting death of Eric Lamont Franklin in the 700 block of Eagle Avenue in Alameda.
Franklin was living at his mother’s house on Eagle Lane at the time.
Lane’s lawyer, William DuBois, said Lane’s guilty plea calls for him to testify against Paige, a 26-year-old Sacramento man, when his case goes to trial later this year.
DuBois said the plea agreement also calls for Lane to testify against Paige and a third man, 26-year-old Dante Burch of Concord, at another trial, which will begin on Monday. Paige and Burch face murder charges stemming from the fatal shooting of 26-year-old Darrell Bradford in the 1200 block of Kentwood Lane in the unincorporated Ashland area of San Leandro on June 14, 2011.
DuBois said if a judge concludes that Lane testified truthfully at both trials, Lane’s murder conviction will be reduced to manslaughter and he’ll face a maximum sentence of 6 years in state prison.
The defense attorney said if Lane doesn’t testify truthfully he will face 25 years in state prison.
As part of the plea bargain, prosecutors dismissed a gun charge that could have added 25 years to Lane’s sentence as well as the special circumstance of committing a murder during the course of a robbery, which could have resulted in life in prison.
At the end of the preliminary hearing today, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Allan Hymer ruled that prosecutors produced sufficient evidence to have Paige ordered to stand trial on a murder charge for Franklin’s death as well as the special circumstance of committing a murder during the course of a robbery.
Hymer issued his ruling after Paige’s lawyers, Al Wax and Richard Humphrey, complained that Lane’s plea deal and other developments in the case had effectively prevented them from cross-examining key witnesses.
Humphrey said, “There’s a pesky little thing called the Constitution,” and alleged that Paige had been denied effective assistance of counsel.
Humphrey asked, “What good is having a lawyer if he can’t cross-examine?” Paige, who has two lawyers because he could face the death penalty, is accused of being a shooter in the deaths of both Franklin and Bradford.
Paige had been at large since Franklin’s death in 2010 but was arrested at the Arden Fair Mall in Sacramento on March 15, 2014, for allegedly being a passenger in a stolen rental car, according to a probable cause statement by Alameda County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ricardo Gonzales.
Sacramento police later discovered that Paige was wanted on a murder warrant in Alameda County and extradited him to that county, authorities said.
Alameda police said in a probable cause statement that investigators believe Lane and Paige were involved in a street robbery that resulted in Franklin’s death.
Sheriff’s Detective Patrick Smyth said in a probable cause statement that Bradford was killed after Burch and Bradford’s brother got into an argument and fight at the Ashland Village apartment complex when Burch’s girlfriend asked about buying some marijuana and Bradford’s brother told her he didn’t have any marijuana to sell.
According to Smyth, several witnesses told authorities that Burch said he was going to Oakland to “get his boys” and he returned to the apartment complex with Paige and several other men.
Smyth said Burch and Bradford’s brother got into a second fight, but when Darrell Bradford arrived and intervened Paige pulled out a black gun from his waistband and shot multiple rounds at Darrell Bradford at close range.
Smyth said Bradford was struck by three shots and was pronounced dead a short time later at the Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley.