A Vallejo man was convicted of first-degree murder on Wednesday for his role in the fatal shooting in 2015 of a 17-year-old who Oakland City Councilwoman Lynette Gibson McElhaney considered to be her grandson.
Jurors, who deliberated for less than two full days, also convicted Shiheim Johnson, who was 19 at the time and is now 22, of second-degree robbery and two counts of unlawfully possessing a gun, as he had prior conviction for robbery in 2012 and wasn’t supposed to own one.
Alameda County prosecutor Tim Wagstaffe said in his closing argument on Monday that Johnson and a boy who was 15 at the time had “a harebrained idea to commit an armed robbery” but it went wrong and led to the shooting death of Torian Hughes in the 900 block of Mandela Parkway in West Oakland at about 1:40 p.m. on Dec. 20, 2015.
Wagstaffe said Hughes wanted to buy a gun from the 15-year-old and Johnson because he had recently been assaulted on BART and felt that he needed to protect himself.
Wagstaffe alleged that Johnson pointed a gun at the head of Hughes’ cousin, Joe Billy Green, who was with Hughes, took a cellphone and cash from him and then directed the 15-year-old boy to shoot Hughes.
Gibson McElhaney had attended every day of Johnson’s trial since it began on Feb. 19, but she has been absent this week because she was hit with another tragedy on Sunday when her 21-year-old son Victor McElhaney was fatally shot in Los Angeles in what police said was a botched robbery.
Johnson’s attorney Omid Khalilnaji told jurors that they should find Johnson not guilty because he believes Green’s identification of Johnson as the man who robbed him and ordered the 15-year-old to shoot Hughes is unreliable.
The teen who allegedly shot Hughes is being prosecuted separately in the juvenile court system.