OAKLAND (BCN) — Two men received lengthy state prison sentences today for their convictions for conspiracy to commit murder for plotting to kill a man from a rival group in East Oakland four years ago.
Alameda County Superior Court Judge Larry Goodman sentenced Patrick Shields, 31, the alleged leader of the plot, to 25 years to life in state prison and Wynn Brewer, 33, to 28 years to life.
The reason that Brewer received a slightly longer sentence is that he also was convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
A third alleged conspirator, Cyrico Robinson, 28, was acquitted when jurors announced their verdict last Oct. 20.
During the trial, prosecutor John Brouhard describing the three men as “a group of would-be killers” and said the plot was discovered by investigators from the Oakland Police Department, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Secret Service.
Authorities were wiretapping the suspects and became concerned when they heard phone conversations indicating that they were planning to murder a man from a rival group because the man had shot and wounded several of their friends, Brouhard said.
The suspects located the target at 35th and Broookdale avenues in East Oakland on May 17, 2011, and several gunmen fired at him but the target escaped unharmed, according to Brouhard. However, two women were wounded by gunfire.
Brouhard said Shields arranged another attempt to kill the target at a residence in the 3000 block of Curran Avenue at about 10:30 p.m. the following night but Oakland police officers moved in to try to stop the murder before it occurred.
Officers surrounded a car occupied by Brewer, John Sloan, 23, and Davon Jackson, 30, also known as Antoine Jackson, in the 3000 block of Curran Avenue but the suspects refused police commands to surrender, according to Brouhard.
Brouhard said Brewer ran from the car with a gun in his hand and hid in a nearby yard and Sloan ran from the car with a gun in his hand.
Capt. Ersie Joyner, who’s now a commander, shot and killed Sloan because he raised his gun toward him, Brouhard said.
Jackson refused police commands to raise his hands while he was seated in the car and an officer shot and killed him as Jackson reached down because the officer thought Jackson was reaching for a weapon, according to Brouhard.
However, Jackson was unarmed.
Oakland civil rights attorney John Burris filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Oakland police in 2012 on behalf of the families of Sloan and Jackson. The suit is still pending.
Shields’ attorney, William DuBois, alleged during the trial that prosecutors filed the charges against Shields, Brewer and Robinson to “cover up egregious misconduct” by Oakland police.
But Brouhard said today that officers acted appropriately because the suspects “were about to murder someone and the police had to stop it.”
DuBois and Patrick Hetrick, who represents Brewer, asked for a new trial for Shields and Brewer, arguing that jurors should have been given the option of convicting the defendants of the lesser charge of conspiracy to commit voluntary manslaughter, which could have resulted in lighter sentences.
The defense attorneys said Shields and Brewer were acting in the heat of passion and under provocation because they were upset that some of their close friends and relatives had been seriously wounded by the rival group.
Goodman denied their motion for a new trial but DuBois and Hetrick said they will file an appeal on behalf of Shields and Brewer.
DuBois said, “This is a case of first impression,” meaning that it presents a new legal issue that should be considered by the appellate courts.