HAYWARD -- Jury deliberations are expected to begin Wednesday in the trial of three alleged gang members charged with killing three people in an ambush of gunfire outside a San Leandro warehouse party in 2011.
Joshua Alford, 23, of Oakland, Shanice Kiel, 19, of San Francisco, and Leneasha Northington, 16, of San Leandro, were killed, and three of their friends were wounded Oct. 2, 2011, when the defendants surrounded the SUV the victims were sitting in and started firing, prosecutor Jimmie Wilson said in closing arguments Monday. A seventh youth in the vehicle survived unscathed.
Paul Stevenson, 22, and Anthony Perry, 23, both of Oakland, and Aaron Stewart, 21, of Fairfield each face life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted as charged with three counts of murder and four counts of premeditated attempted murder.
"(The victims) were innocent. But guess what, these guys had evil in the hearts," Wilson told jurors. "This was a massacre. This was an execution. They didn't care, and each one of these guys are equally guilty."
Alford was the target of the shooting because of his affiliation with a rival gang that had a run-in with the defendants' gang at a San Francisco party, according to testimony from prosecution witnesses. Although there was no confrontation between Alford and the rival gang in San Francisco or on the night in question, the defendants conspired to kill him upon spotting him at the San Leandro event billed as a tattoo party, Wilson argued.
One of the shooting survivors testified that she was in the SUV with the other victims, where she saw people running through the parking lot around them. "Someone is about to get shot," she recalled saying before gunfire erupted, Wilson said.
Perry and Stevenson both fired multiple rounds, while Stewart got off no shots because his gun jammed, Wilson said. Eyewitnesses placed all three of the defendants around the SUV with guns in hand. The defendants were further implicated by statements they made to fellow gang members after the shooting, Wilson said.
Among the key witnesses at the trial was Stanley Turner, who was originally charged with murder alongside the defendants for providing one of the guns and driving Stewart away from crime scene at Alvarado Street and Aladdin Avenue. Turner, 20, of Oakland, was given a plea deal and is expected to get a three-year sentence for being an accessory to murder in exchange for his testimony.
Defense attorney Alexander Selvin argued Monday that the prosecution failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Stevenson was one of the shooters. There were conflicting witnesses statements as to whether he was near the victims' SUV, and no evidence that he was part of a plan formed during the party to go after Alford, Selvin said.
Defense attorneys Darryl Stallworth and Tom Broome are scheduled to give their closing statements on behalf of Perry and Stewart on Tuesday. In opening statements last month, both attorneys said their clients did not fire any shots.
Contact Malaika Fraley at 925-234-1684. Follow her at Twitter.com/malaikafraley.