Man gets 118 years to life for shooting outside Berkeley barbershop

A Bay Point man was sentenced Thursday to 118 years to life in state prison for his convictions for first-degree murder and attempted murder for a shooting outside a Berkeley barbershop in October 2010 that left one man dead and another seriously wounded.

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Jon Rolefson pronounced his harsh sentence for 27-year-old Brandon Wallace after denying a defense motion that Wallace be granted a new trial based on testimony by his co-defendant Coleon Carroll that Wallace wasn’t present at the shooting outside Johnson’s House of Style in the 2900 block of Sacramento Street in Berkeley at 8:45 a.m. on Oct. 26, 2010.

Gary Ferguson Jr., a 35-year-old Oakland man, was killed in the shooting and Larry Belle, who worked as a barber at the barbershop, was wounded.

Rolefson said of Carroll, a 27-year-old Berkeley man, “I didn’t find him credible at all” and said there’s no reasonable probability that Wallace would have a different outcome if a jury heard Carroll testify.

Prosecutor Matt Wendt said Wallace, who was convicted back on March 21, was one of two shooters in the incident but the second suspected shooter has never been arrested or charged, even though authorities think they know who it was.

In his closing argument in the case, Wendt didn’t specify a motive for the shooting but said Wallace and the second shooter fired more than 20 shots from two different guns.

Wendt said after Wallace’s lengthy hearing today that the shooting may have been sparked by a conflict between Ferguson and Carroll’s mother. He said Belle wasn’t involved in the feud and apparently was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

During Wallace’s trial, Wendt said surveillance camera footage showed the suspect who remains at large accidentally shooting Wallace, who was holding a gun, in the back of his left leg as Wallace was backing away from the scene after Ferguson and Belle were shot.

He said when Berkeley police contacted local hospitals afterward to see if they were treating anyone who had suffered gunshot wounds to his left leg, they discovered that Wallace was getting medical treatment at a Kaiser Permanente hospital in Richmond after he provided a false name.

Wendt said when police went to Wallace’s hospital room, they found blue jeans and tennis shoes that were similar to those worn by one of the suspected shooters in the surveillance video.

Wallace’s lawyer, Bonnie Narby, asked jurors to find Wallace not guilty, saying he couldn’t have been one of the shooters because he had gone to Richmond that morning to meet up with a woman he had recently met.

Narby said as Wallace left the BART station near 16th Street and MacDonald Avenue, a man came up and asked him for change for a $20 bill but when he fumbled for change, the man tried to rob him and shot him.

But Wendt said Wallace’s testimony that he was shot in Richmond that morning was “ridiculous” because it wasn’t corroborated by ShotSpotter gunshot detection technology used by Richmond police to track reports of gunfire.

Carroll of Berkeley, who allegedly was the driver in the shooting incident, had been scheduled to stand trial with Wallace on murder and attempted murder charges but he pleaded no contest to the lesser charge earlier this year and was sentenced earlier today to 13 years in state prison.

After Wallace was convicted, Carroll contacted Narby and told her that Wallace wasn’t with him on the day of the shooting and instead he was with his cousin, Jermaine Davis, who died at the age of 26 when he was shot in the 1800 block of Derby Street in Berkeley on July 17, 2013.

Carroll repeated that story in court today and Narby said it should be taken seriously because Wallace and Davis had similar appearances at the time of the 2010 shooting since they both had dreadlocks and witnesses may have mistakenly identified Wallace as one of the culprits.

But Wendt said Carroll’s testimony “wasn’t credible or believable because of many inconsistencies” because at one point Carroll said three people were with him at the time of the shooting but he later said only two people were with him at the time.

Davis’ death upset his friends and relatives and sparked his close friend Darnell Williams to fire 13 shots into the Oakland home of the girlfriend of the man he thought had killed Davis.

That man wasn’t present but Williams’ shots killed 8-year-old Alaysha Carradine and wounded three other people, including a 7-year-old girl and a 4-year-old boy.

Williams was sentenced to death in September for murdering Carradine and Anthony Medearis in Berkeley in an unrelated incident in Berkeley on Sept. 8, 2013.

Carroll’s brother, Joe Carroll, was also charged with murder in connection with Carradine’s death but that charge was later dismissed because of a lack of evidence.

Rolefson said he gave Wallace 118 years to life because he has a lengthy criminal record, including serious “strike” offenses such as robbery that allowed him to double Wallace’s sentence.