OAKLAND (BCN) — A four-time felon was sentenced to eight years in state prison Wednesday for his conviction on a felony count of discharging a firearm in a grossly negligent manner for an incident at the West Oakland BART station last year in which he shot himself during a struggle with officers.
Corey Powell, 29, was also convicted of felony counts of carrying a concealed weapon and being a felon in possession of a gun and two misdemeanor counts of resisting arrest for the incident that occurred at
about 8 p.m. on Sept. 1, 2015.
Alameda County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Horner initially sentenced Powell to 13 years Wednesday but Powell’s defense attorney Charles Jameson convinced Horner that it would be improper to add an additional five years to Powell’s base term because his most recent crime technically isn’t considered violent under the law.
Judges can increase terms for defendants who have prior offenses if their most recent case involved a violent crime.
Referring to the incident at the West Oakland BART station, Jameson said, “It was a reckless offense but it wasn’t violent.”
After Horner reviewed several legal books and the jury’s verdict forms, he said, “Mr. Jameson, I think you’re right. That saves Mr. Powell five years.”
BART police said their confrontation with Powell began after two officers approached him on the platform at the West Oakland station to tell him to put out his cigarette since smoking on the platform is prohibited by
Police said that when the officers asked Powell for identification, he gave multiple false names and began behaving erratically, threatening to kill himself by jumping off the elevated platform onto the sidewalk.
A few moments later, Powell said he didn’t want to go back to jail and that he wanted to kill himself, prosecutors said.
When Powell reached for his waistband, one of the officers warned him that he would use a Taser stun gun on him, police said.
Powell then reached into his waistband and accidentally shot himself in the stomach with a gun that was tucked into his pants just before the officer shocked him with his Taser, according to police.
Police recovered Powell’s gun and a bullet casing at the scene.
Powell suffered a single gunshot wound to his abdomen and an exit wound to his buttock and underwent multiple surgeries at Highland Hospital in Oakland.
BART police asked the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office to charge Powell with attempted murder but prosecutors filed lesser charges against him.
At the time of the incident, Powell was on parole for felony burglary and armed robbery and had a no-bail warrant out for his arrest. He also has prior felony convictions for drug and weapons counts.
Before he was sentenced, Powell gave Horner a handwritten letter in which he asked for leniency because he’s remorseful for his actions and because he has had to undergo many surgeries and must still undergo
Horner said he gave Powell consideration for those factors but he said those are “greatly outweighed” by aggravating factors such as the fact that Powell engaged in conduct that represents “a serious danger to society.”
Horner said Powell “had a loaded firearm on a BART platform” and if it had gone off at a different angle “it could have resulted in death or injury to many people.”