Defense lawyer says accused killer wasn’t at the shooting scene

OAKLAND (BCN)—A defense attorney said today that a motorcycle mechanic should be found not guilty of a murder charge stemming from the fatal shooting of a man in East Oakland last year because he wasn’t at the murder scene and didn’t know the victim.

In his opening statement in the trial of Michael Herbert Horace, 64, for the shooting death of 51-year-old Tass Jackson of Oakland in the 1200 block of 46th Avenue at about 1 a.m. on April 29, 2015, defense lawyer William DuBois said Horace and other witnesses will testify that Horace was working at his motorcycle repair shop at the time.

DuBois said Horace “never met Tass Jackson, never spoke to him and didn’t know what he looked like.”

Oakland police said the shooting may have resulted from an earlier argument between Horace and Jackson.

Police said witnesses identified Horace as the man who shot Jackson, but DuBois alleged that the lineup in which Horace was identified was flawed because police coached witnesses to identify Horace.

In addition to the murder charge for Jackson’s death, Horace is charged with shooting at an occupied vehicle for allegedly firing a shot that hit a parked car containing a woman and assault with a firearm for allegedly shooting at a man on the street who was trying to help Jackson after he was shot.

DuBois said Horace has no previous criminal record except a traffic violation.

But at a hearing last year at which a judge set Horace’s bail at $3 million, where it remains, a prosecutor said Horace has a lengthy record and has had his bail revoked three times.

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