OAKLAND -- An Oakland man was convicted this week of first-degree murder for fatally shooting his cousin, a convicted felon who prosecutors admitted had a reputation as a bully, three years ago.
Jurors deliberated for less than a full day before announcing their verdict against 22-year-old Damon Jones on Tuesday afternoon for the death of 22-year-old Wayne Griffin in the 900 block of Willow Street in Oakland at about 5:40 p.m. on Aug. 15, 2009.
In addition to convicting him of first-degree murder, jurors found Jones guilty of an enhancement clause of intentionally discharging a gun to cause death. He faces a state prison term of 50 years to life when he's sentenced by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Trina Thompson on July 19.
Prosecutors said the shooting occurred after Griffin, who had recently been released from state prison, confronted Jones about a fight a few days earlier between Jones and Griffin's brother.
Although many people described Jones and Griffin as being close friends, the two men exchanged punches and Griffin won the fight, prosecutors said.
Jones then went to his nearby car and retrieved a semiautomatic handgun, according to prosecutors. They said he later admitted that he had a reputation of playing with guns and of being a triggerman in the neighborhood.
Prosecutors said Jones shot Griffin, who was unarmed, in the back of the right leg and Griffin fell to the sidewalk and pleaded with Jones to
But they said Jones continued firing his gun and shot Griffin a total of 10 times, hitting him in the left buttock, left arm and left leg with several of the bullets passing into his torso and piercing vital organs and arteries.
Griffin died of multiple gunshot wounds at Highland Hospital in Oakland a short time later.
Jones fled the area but was arrested two months later in Richmond in possession of another firearm.
Prosecutors said Jones admitted to carrying out the shooting when he was interviewed by Oakland police but claimed Griffin was a threat to him and that he feared Griffin would come after him.
Jones' attorney, Deborah Levy, said today that Griffin had been taking mood-stabilizer drugs while he was in prison but had stopped taking them after he was released and she thinks he was "a firecracker ready to pop" at the time of the incident.
Levy said she asked jurors to convict Jones of the lesser offense of manslaughter because she believes he acted in imperfect self-defense, which is the honest but unreasonable belief that his actions were necessary to counter the perceived attack by Griffin.
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