Prosecutor seeks death for Oakland child-killer

A prosecutor asked jurors today to recommend the death penalty for an Oakland man who was convicted of murdering an 8-year-old girl and a 22-year-old man in 2013, saying that the man “likes violence” and “that’s what he’s all about.”

In his closing argument in the penalty phase of the trial of 25-year-old Darnell Williams, who was convicted for fatal shootings of Alaysha Carradine in Oakland on July 17, 2013, and of Anthony Medearis in Berkeley about seven weeks later, prosecutor John Brouhard said jurors should:

“… show him as much mercy as he showed the victims in this case, which is none.”

Brouhard said a death penalty verdict:

“… will bring justice to Anthony Medearis and his family and to Alaysha and her family.”

But Williams’ lead attorney, Deborah Levy, said that in asking for the death penalty Brouhard is asking jurors to engage in the kind of street justice that the prosecutor alleged that Williams engaged in when he shot Alaysha and Medearis.

Levy said:

“Mr. Brouhard is looking for street justice for you by saying that he (Williams) took two lives so he should be killed.”

The defense attorney said jurors should spare Williams’ life and recommend life in prison without the possibility of parole because he was basically abandoned by his parents at the age of five since they both were frequently in jail or prison and he didn’t get the nurturing he needed.

Levy said:

“I don’t think Mr. Williams had much of a chance but to move to the streets, which became his family. …¬†You’re not bound by the code of the streets and street justice and you should go above ‘an eye for an eye.'”

Brouhard told jurors in the guilt phase of Williams’ trial that he killed Alaysha when he fired at least 13 shots into the apartment in the 3400 block of Wilson Avenue in Oakland in retaliation for the fatal shooting of a close friend in Berkeley about five hours earlier.

He said the shots also injured and nearly killed a 7-year-old girl, a 4-year-old boy and their 63-year-old grandmother.

Brouhard said Williams fatally shot Medearis in the back as Medearis was running away from him because he thought Medearis was a snitch and also because he wanted to rob him because he had run out of money to buy guns, drugs and jewelry.

On May 6, Williams was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder for the shooting deaths of Alaysha and Medearis as well as three counts of premeditated attempted murder and the special circumstance of lying in wait for the Oakland shooting, the special circumstance of murdering Medearis during the course of an attempted robbery and the special circumstance of committing multiple murders.

Brouhard said in his closing argument today that in addition to the horrible nature of the killings of Alaysha and Medearis, Williams should get the death penalty because he has a history of committing violent acts.

Brouhard said that history includes Williams’ conviction for assault with a semi-automatic firearm for shooting at a childhood friend on Oregon Street in Berkeley on Oct. 9, 2009, and several fights while he was in custody in state prison and the county jail.

But Levy said Williams’ jail and prison fights aren’t anything out of the ordinary since inmates frequently quarrel while they’re in custody and said that as horrific as the killings of Alaysha and Medearis are, they aren’t as bad as the mass killings that have occurred at some schools in the U.S.

Levy said:

“He’s not a mass murderer.”

In making their recommendation for either the death penalty or life in prison without parole, jurors can take into account the facts of Williams’ crimes, the suffering of the victims, the impacts the murders had on their survivors and Williams’ difficult childhood.

Jurors will begin deliberating Williams’ fate on Wednesday morning after they receive legal instructions from Alameda County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Horner, who is presiding over his case.