A 41-year-old woman cried tears of joy on Friday when authorities said she will be released later in the day after spending a little over three years in custody for her role in the 2015 fatal shooting of a mother of three children during a gunbattle in West Oakland.
After Alameda County Superior Court Judge Kevin Murphy announced that she will be given credit for the time she’s already served and set free, Joneria Reed said:
“Thank you for giving me a second chance.”
Reed’s phone calls to her son and another man led to a shooting between two groups of people that resulted in the death of Chyemil Pierce, 30, in the 2800 block of Chestnut Street at about 4:45 p.m. on March 9, 2015.
Police said more than 100 bullets were fired in the massive gunfight.
Murphy told Reed, who wasn’t arrested until Feb. 25, 2016:
“You might have made a phone call” that started the tragic chain of events but said the gunbattle “is not what you had in mind.”
Reed, who was charged with murder, was one of eight people who were charged in connection with the shooting.
On April 12, 2017, Reed pleaded no contest to second-degree murder for her role in the shooting in exchange for her promise to testify against six other defendants who also were charged.
The deal called for her conviction to be reduced to voluntary manslaughter and for her to get a light sentence if it was determined that she testified truthfully.
Reed fulfilled part of her agreement in 2017 when she testified against four defendants who stood trial and fulfilled the rest of her pact earlier this week when she testified against the last two defendants. Alameda County Prosecutor Butch Ford said Alex Davis, 29, Anthony Sims, 24, Michael Stills, 25, Jerry Harbin, 34, Shelton McDaniels, 33, and Julian Ambrose, 21, armed themselves with guns before the shootout, which occurred after a large group of women got into a fight.
Ford alleged that Harbin escalated the situation by pushing Reed to the ground and interjecting himself into the women’s fight. Ford said a shootout eventually ensued between Harbin and his associates from a West Oakland group known as “3rd World,” which included McDaniels, Davis, Stills and Ward, and associates from another West Oakland group known as “The Bottoms,” which included Sims and Ambrose. Ford said he believes that Davis fired the bullet that struck Pierce in the back of the head and killed her.
Davis, Sims and Stills were convicted on June 1, 2017, of second-degree murder for their roles in the shooting.
Jurors were deadlocked over the fate of a fourth defendant, Jerry Harbin, 33, but four days later he pleaded no contest to the lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter and was later sentenced to 13 years in state prison. Davis was sentenced to 40 years to life in prison, Still was sentenced to 16 years to life and Sims received a sentence of 15 years to life. Reed’s son Dijon Ward, 25, pleaded no contest to a felony count of being an accessory after the fact for hiding a gun that one of the suspects used in the shooting. Ward was placed on 5 years’ probation.
Reed testified this week in the trial of McDaniels and Ambrose, the last two defendants in the case. Their trial will resume next week. Referring to the death of Pierce, who worked as a human relations specialist at Kaiser Permanente, and the long prison sentences for most of the defendants, Murphy told Reed:
“It’s been a long and bumpy road but in the end they turned out well, all things considered.”
“No one is happy or walking away a winner in this case.”
Reed’s attorney Michal Tal said Reed’s time at the county jail:
“[H]as been a learning experience for her and she’s educated herself and is ready to come out into the community by being a good parent to her young daughter and getting a job.”
Reed’s mother, Ward, her son and other family members attended her sentencing and joined her in shedding tears of joy.