A 25-year-old Oakland man admitted in court Wednesday that he fatally shot another man earlier this year, but said he did so in self-defense because the other man was threatening to kill his entire family.
Testifying on the fourth day of a slow-moving preliminary hearing in Alameda County Superior Court, Derren Stevenson said, "I was shooting to protect my family and myself" when he fired four shots at Malique Parrott, 26, in the 2200 block of Foothill Boulevard at 10:50 p.m. June 10.
Dressed in a yellow jail uniform and closely-guarded by a bailiff while he was on the witness stand, Stevenson said, "He was trying to get into my house and make good on his threats" to kill Stevenson and his family members, which he said included his daughter, his girlfriend, his sister, his mother and his grandmother.
Stevenson and his girlfriend, 23-year-old Briana Carroll, are both charged with murder for the death of Parrott, who also was the victim of a shooting outside the Blue and Gold Liquor Store at 1811 14th Ave. in Oakland on Sept. 16, 2007.
Parrott's cousin, Charles Brackins, 33, was killed in the 2007 shooting but Parrott survived. At a trial in 2009, Kerry Nhep was convicted of first-degree murder for killing Brackins and attempted murder for shooting Parrott.
Prosecutors allege that both Stevenson and Carroll shot Parrott but Stevenson said Carroll had no involvement in Parrott's death.
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Prosecutor Joseph Goethals expressed skepticism about Stevenson's claim that Carroll is innocent and asked him if her DNA was on the assault rifle that was used to kill Parrott. Stevenson said he didn't know.
While cross-examining Stevenson at length, Goethals also expressed doubt that Stevenson's life was in danger when he fatally shot Parrott, pointing out that Parrott was outside Stevenson's house when he was shot.
Stevenson admitted that Parrott wasn't pointing his gun at him when he fired at Parrott but he said Parrott was armed and he was afraid that Parrott would smash a window and shoot into his house and jeopardize the lives of all his family members.
Goethals said he thinks the real reason Stevenson killed Parrott is that Parrott had "disrespected" Stevenson's aunt and sister in a confrontation shortly before the shooting but Stevenson denied that.
Stevenson said he doesn't know why Parrott was threatening to kill him and his family. He said Parrott had been hanging out and drinking alcohol in the neighborhood all day and "was out of his mind."
Stevenson said the shooting occurred at the end of a barbecue at his house and after he and Parrott had gotten into a fistfight. Stevenson said his mother fired pepper spray at Parrott and him to break up the fight and he was still feeling the affects of the pepper spray when he shot Parrott.
He said he had known Parrott for many years because Parrott is the father of his cousin's child.
Stevenson said Parrott "was somewhat of a friend" but he was wary of him because he had a reputation for violence and claimed that he had murdered several people.
He said Parrott still had bullets in his body from the 2007 shooting incident and "bragged about it."
The purpose of the preliminary hearing is to determine if there's enough evidence to have Stevenson and Carroll ordered to stand trial on murder charges.
It's unusual for defense lawyers to present any evidence at preliminary hearings, but Stevenson's lawyer, William DuBois, put him on the witness stand in an apparent effort to have the charges dismissed at an early stage before prosecutors have time to develop more evidence.
The hearing will continue on Thursday and Friday.