An ex-convict and self-described anarchist was convicted of second-degree murder Thursday for fatally shooting another man in a dispute over a van in Oakland in 2016.
Jurors deliberated for two days before announcing their verdict against 41-year-old Patrick Dempsey. The jury found Dempsey shot 27-year-old Spencer Reboredo in the 900 block of 35th Street, near a Chevron gas station, at about 4:15 a.m. on July 14, 2016.
Alameda County prosecutor Butch Ford told jurors in his closing argument on Tuesday that witness statements and physical evidence prove that Dempsey shot Reboredo because Reboredo had borrowed his van and refused to return it.
Ford said Dempsey and Reboredo knew each other because they both lived at a warehouse in Oakland which hosted dance parties to raise money and there was illegal activity such as methamphetamine drug dealing.
But defense attorney Megan Burns said Dempsey “lacked a motive” to kill Reboredo because it was “laughable” to think that someone would be murdered over Dempsey’s beat-up 1998 Nissan Quest van.
Ford said people in Oakland have been killed for less than that, noting that an Oakland police homicide investigator testified at Dempsey’s trial that many homicides are committed over seemingly trivial matters such as a perceived lack of respect.
Burns said she thinks a Union City man who had harmed Reboredo several months before the shooting was the man who actually killed Reboredo because he thought Reboredo had “snitched” on him.
But Ford said an informant who told authorities that the Union City man was the killer changed her story and the information she provided can’t be corroborated.
Dempsey’s girlfriend Sabrina Cross testified during the trial that Dempsey couldn’t have carried out the fatal shooting because he was with her at the time.
But Ford alleged that Cross’s alibi for Dempsey is unreliable because her statements to investigators and in court about being with Dempsey at the time of the crime haven’t been consistent.
Dempsey, who showed little emotion when the jury’s verdict was announced, faces a term of 40 years to life in state prison when he’s sentenced by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Thomas Rogers on Feb. 7.
Dempsey has three prior felony convictions for vehicle theft, driving under the influence of alcohol and petty theft with priors.