PDA

View Full Version : Hayward man convicted in shooting death of his friend near Cal


Steyr_223
04-29-2008, 2:43 PM
Wow, justice served.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/04/29/BAF010DPE5.DTL&tsp=1

(04-29) 12:33 PDT Oakland - --

A Hayward man was convicted of voluntary manslaughter today for fatally shooting a friend who called him for help after a run-in with Cal football players near the UC Berkeley campus.

Christopher Hollis rubbed his face with his hands after the verdict was read in the Oakland courtroom of Judge Vernon Nakahara of Alameda County Superior Court. He could face from six to 21 years in prison when he is sentenced on July 14 for voluntary manslaughter, assault with a firearm and being a felon in possession of a gun.

The jury sided with the defense argument that Hollis didn't mean to kill his friend, Meleia Willis-Starbuck, 19, when he opened fire at a group of people outside the apartment building where she was living in the summer of 2005.

Deputy District Attorney Elgin Lowe had argued that Hollis was "scared, crazy, young and too quick to use a gun" and should be convicted of murder. Outside court today, Lowe said, "I respect the jury's decision."

Hollis' attorney, Assistant Public Defender Greg Syren, said in his closing summation that his 24-year-old client had been trying only to disperse the crowd and had believed that his friend was in imminent danger.

After the verdict was read, Syren said, "I'm very happy that the jury got my message. The message was this was not a murder - it was something less than murder."

Syren said another important message from this case was that "you don't bring handguns to a situation, and even though people might think they somehow need a handgun to protect themselves, more often than not you get into a situation like this and use a handgun in an illegal way, and you end up paying the price for that."

The defense attorney said he was heartened that Hollis would be able to live "a substantial part of his life" outside prison.

Hollis and Willis-Starbuck attended Berkeley High together, and were so close that she considered him to be her brother, Lowe said. Syren has said what happened was like a "Greek tragedy played out on the streets of Berkeley."

Syren said Hollis was remorseful for killing his friend and shooting at the football players, including Gary Doxy, who was slightly injured by a bullet that grazed his wrist. That led to the assault conviction.

The incident unfolded early on July 17, 2005, near Dwight Way and College Avenue, four blocks south of the UC Berkeley campus. Willis-Starbuck, a graduate of Berkeley High School, was living in the neighborhood while on summer break from Dartmouth College.

The night of the shooting, she and her friends got into an argument on the street with several Cal football players, Lowe said. The confrontation occurred after one player called one of Willis-Starbuck's friends a ***** and another called someone "Chewbacca," a reference to the "Star Wars" character.

The players apologized and later told Willis-Starbuck to leave with her friends. But in a series of increasingly frantic phone calls, Willis-Starbuck asked Hollis for help and told him to bring a pistol, according to Syren.

Hollis fired at the group from half a block away - without seeing where Willis-Starbuck was and when the dispute between her friends and the football players had largely subsided, Lowe said. Hollis fled after the shooting and proclaimed he had chased Willis-Starbuck's antagonists off the block, the prosecutor said.

Willis-Starbuck was struck by a .38-caliber bullet and killed. A defense pathologist testified that her blood-alcohol level was as much as twice the level that constitutes drunken driving, and that her fears during the confrontation had probably been intensified by her intoxicated condition.

Angelina Pacheco, 26, of Pittsburg, Hollis' fiancee, said after the verdict: "It's unfortunate that this had to happen. But it worked out in the Lord's name for the best." The couple have a 2-year-old daughter.

bwiese
04-29-2008, 2:54 PM
If that bullet had hit someone else, Meleia Willis-Starbuck woulda been up for murder too - as the 'shot caller'.

Apparently it doesn't take much to get into Dartmouth these days.

Saigon1965
04-29-2008, 3:05 PM
It's spreading everywhere too.



Apparently it doesn't take much to get into Dartmouth these days.

berto
04-29-2008, 3:14 PM
He's lucky the jury bought the tragedy angle instead of the cowardly felon shooting at a crowd from half a block away angle.

Decoligny
04-29-2008, 3:36 PM
Syren said another important message from this case was that "you don't bring handguns to a situation, and even though people might think they somehow need a handgun to protect themselves, more often than not you get into a situation like this and use a handgun in an illegal way, and you end up paying the price for that."


Really, then why does the FBI report 2,500,000 uses of handguns in self defense annualy without the "more often than not" figure of more than 1,250,000 cases of manslaughter annually?

Guy ought to think before he talks.