3 convicted for shots at officer, witness

June 17, 2010 1:26:37 PM PDT
Three people have been convicted in connection with two related incidents in which shots were allegedly fired toward an Oakland police officer last August and a witness was shot and seriously injured 26 hours later.

Alameda County Deputy District Attorney Colleen McMahon said shots were fired in the direction of Officer Marcel Patterson after he responded to a report that a group of about seven people was gambling in front of a laundromat in the 2000 block of 23rd Avenue in Oakland at about 11 p.m. on Aug. 27, 2009.

The group dispersed after Patterson shined a spotlight on it, but as he was walking in the area he heard a man threaten to kill him and tell him to "get out," McMahon said.

Patterson testified at a trial in Alameda County Superior Court that lasted for more than two months that he thinks eight shots were fired at him and six shell casings from a .40-caliber were found at the scene, McMahon said.

Joseph Harrison, a 26-year-old Oakland man, was arrested the next day based on information from a male witness, she said.

But about 26 hours later, in the early morning hours of Aug. 29, 2009, the witness was shot several times in the same location on 23rd Avenue, she said.

McMahon said the witness still has metal rods in his legs and his femur and tibia were broken, but he survived the shooting and was able to testify against Harrison as well as the two men whom he said shot him, Marcus Moore, a 32-year-old Oakland man, and Freeman Griffin, a 42-year-old Oakland man.

She asked that the witness's name not be disclosed because of concerns about his safety.

In a verdict last week, Harrison was convicted of assault with a firearm and personal and intentional discharge of a firearm for shooting at Patterson.

Harrison also was found guilty of willful, deliberate and premeditated attempted murder of the witness to the assault on Patterson.

In addition, Harrison was convicted of possessing cocaine base for sale.

However, Harrison was acquitted of a charge that he had attempted to murder Patterson.

Harrison faces a term of 36 years to life when he is sentenced by Superior Court Judge Allan Hymer on July 7.

Moore was found guilty of willful, deliberate and premeditated attempted murder of the witness to the assault on Patterson.

The jury also found that Moore personally and intentionally discharged a firearm causing great bodily injury to the witness.

Lastly, the jury found Moore guilty of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Moore faces a term of 32 years to life.

Lonnel Moore, a 27-year-old Oakland man who is Marcus's younger brother, was found guilty of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. He faces up to 5 years in state prison.

But jurors deadlocked 10-2 in favor of convicting Griffin of premeditated attempted murder for the shooting of the witness, discharging a firearm causing great bodily injury to the witness and being a felon in possession of firearm.

McMahon said she plans to prosecute Griffin a second time and his new trial is scheduled to begin on July 26.

Harrison's lawyer, Barbara Thomas, said today that she questions the credibility of the testimony of both Officer Patterson and the witness.

Thomas said "someone shot a gun three blocks away" from Patterson but no one saw the shots and the shots didn't come close to Patterson.

She said she thinks it was a stretch for jurors to convict Harrison.

Marcus Moore's lawyer, Darryl Stallworth, said he also doesn't think the witness was credible because the man had just been released from prison and had also been involved in an incident in which he allegedly had shot at a police officer.

Stallworth said the verdicts against Moore are "disappointing" because he thinks they were "based on testimony that was unreliable."

He said jailhouse phone calls by the four defendants that were secretly tape-recorded by authorities indicated that "a number of people were interested in killing" the witness but he said the calls don't necessarily prove that Moore was involved in the shooting and he thinks it's not even clear that Moore was present at the scene.


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