MARTINEZ — A jury today found two men guilty of murder and robbery after they shot and killed an 18-year-old Brentwood rapper at a Pittsburg park in 2012.
Oakley resident Ohmad Burks and Antioch resident Clarence Cater were both convicted of first degree felony murder, robbery and shooting at an occupied vehicle, along with the special circumstances of committing the crimes to benefit a street gang and to aid other gang members in committing crimes, Deputy District Attorney Melissa Smith said.
Smith said Burks, who was 21 at the time of the shooting, was “the puppeteer” to Cater and Jamonte Easter, who were 18 and 15 at the time, respectively. Easter was tried as an adult and pleaded guilty to two counts of robbery in Nov. 2014, Smith said.
He was sentenced to 18 years in state prison, according to Smith.
Burks’ attorney, Matthew Cuthbertson, vehemently denied that Burks was the leader of any gang and described the trio as a “group of young children.”
“The amount of resources used by the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office to secure a life sentence against Mr. Burks when he neither robbed anyone or killed anyone is shameful,” Cuthbertson said. “To say he is disappointed with the verdict would be an understatement.”
Cuthbertson said they would be appealing the verdict.
The attorney for Cater, Anthony Ashe, was not immediately available for comment.
Prosecutors said the shooting was the culmination of a long-standing feud between the suspects, the victim and his friends, all of whom live in East Contra Costa County.
“The exact nature of the dispute was never determined,” Smith said. “As far as we can tell, the victim has absolutely no gang ties.”
Smith said Dayvon George was in a rap group that talked about street life and that appeared to have generated some rift between the group and the gang, which originated as a hip hop group.
When the verdict was read, Smith said the courtroom erupted in commotion and several people had to be removed from court.
She said George’s death was extremely difficult for his family.
“I do know that this has destroyed their lives,” Smith said.
On Sept. 7, 2012, George was with a group of people, including several children, filming a rap video at Buchanan Park in Pittsburg around 6 p.m.
The group had repositioned a car to use in the video when Burks, Cater and Easter approached them and they started to argue, according to prosecutors.
Easter demanded a watch from one person in the group and then, at the egging of Burks, Cater moved behind George with a gun, prosecutors said.
Both Burks and Cater were carrying guns, according to prosecutors.
One shot was fired, striking George in the stomach. As he was trying to run away, prosecutors said Cater fired other two rounds, one of which struck George in the back.
When officers arrived at the park, they found George suffering from the gunshot wounds and pronounced him dead at the scene, according to police.
Burks faces 25 years to life in prison, and Cater faces life without the possibility of parole, Smith said.
A sentencing date has not yet been scheduled.