OAKLAND (BCN) — An ex-felon was sentenced today to 50 years to life in state prison for his conviction for two counts of first-degree murder for his role in the fatal shooting of two people during a home invasion robbery in East Oakland two years ago.
In December, jurors found 51-year-old Joseph Silva, 24-year-old Jeffrey Tabron, and 56-year-old Joseph Castro guilty in the shooting deaths of Noe Garcia, 28, of Oakland, and 34-year-old Trisha Forde of Union City at a house at 10730 Apricot St., near Blenheim Street, at about 4 a.m. on March 2, 2013.
In addition to the two murder counts, jurors also convicted Tabron of three special circumstance murder allegations, two for killing Garcia and Forde during a robbery and one for killing Forde during a kidnapping.
Alameda County Superior Court Judge Allan Hymer, who presided over the case, imposed the term of 50 years to life for Silva at a hearing today. Last Friday, Hymer sentenced Tabron to two terms of life in prison without the possibility of parole and Castro 50 years to life. Tabron and Castro also are ex-convicts.
Prosecutor Georgia Santos said during the trial that the three defendants, plus two other men, went to the house on Apricot Street to steal flat-screen televisions and an Oakland A’s bobblehead and Forde and Garcia were killed because they were witnesses to the home invasion robbery.
Santos said the evidence in the case indicates that Tabron fatally shot Garcia but it’s unclear who killed Forde. But she said all three defendants should be convicted of murder under the felony-murder rule, which holds that if a killing occurs during the commission or attempted commission of a felony the persons responsible for the felony can be found guilty of murder.
Silva gave a statement to Oakland police in September 2013 in which he accepted partial responsibility for the crime and implicated Tabron and Castro, who is Tabron’s uncle. Silva retracted his statement when he testified during the trial for the three defendants.
His attorney, John McDougall, said in his closing argument in December that he believes Silva cracked under tough questioning by police officers, citing the testimony of a psychologist who examined Silva and found that he’s “an insecure, passive and dependent individual” and “has high levels of compliance and suggestibility.”
But Santos told jurors that they should believe Silva’s confession to police because it’s supported by evidence in the case.
Santos said she believes the two other people who joined the three defendants in staging the home invasion robbery were Tabron’s older brother, 27-year-old Jeffrey Tabron, and a man nicknamed “Taco” who is still at large. Jeffrey Tabron, who initially was charged with two counts of murder and had been scheduled to be prosecuted separately later this year, recently pleaded no contest to the lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter and will receive a three-year prison term.
Prosecutors said Silva had two prior felony convictions, Castro had 12 priors, Joseph Tabron had two priors and Jeffrey Tabron had three priors.
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