16-year-old pleads not guilty to murdering paramedic

June 10, 2013 10:31:36 PM PDT
A 16-year-old boy pleaded not guilty Monday to a murder charge stemming from the shooting death of off-duty paramedic Quinn Boyer in the Oakland Hills two months ago.

Christian Burton, who is being prosecuted as an adult for allegedly shooting Boyer on April 2, is scheduled to return to Alameda County Superior Court on July 8 for a pretrial hearing.

In addition to murder, Burton faces a special-circumstance allegation that he murdered Boyer during the course of a carjacking, which could make him eligible for the death penalty if convicted.

A total of six juveniles have been charged in connection with Boyer's death, but Oakland police Officer Phong Tran said in a probable cause statement filed in court that authorities believe Burton is the person who shot Boyer.

Tran said Burton was linked to the killing through physical evidence and witness statements and, after he was arrested, "he provided an admission of his involvement in the shooting death of the victim."

Boyer, 34, had worked as a paramedic for five years, the last two for Santa Clara County Ambulance. He was shot while driving on Keller Avenue just below Skyline Boulevard shortly before noon on April 2 and crashed his car down a ravine in the 5200 block of Keller Avenue. He died two days later.

He grew up in Oakland and was in the city the day of the shooting to take his father to a medical appointment. He was a graduate of Sonoma State University, the Santa Rosa Fire Academy and the Foothill Paramedic Program, and is survived by his wife and family.

Prosecutors said the other boys in custody, who range in age from 13 to 15, have been charged in juvenile court with multiple felonies, including murder, for their alleged roles in the crime. Their names have not been released because they are not being tried as adults.

Tran said Burton and the other five teens saw Boyer in a parking area at Keller Avenue and Hanson Street, and that Burton and one of the other youths approached him "with the intent to forcefully take his vehicle."

Burton then allegedly shot Boyer during the attempted carjacking, Tran said.

After today's brief hearing, Burton's father, Richard Burton, said he thinks his son is innocent because he believes he was in school at the time that Boyer was shot.

Referring to his son, Burton said, "He wasn't there and he didn't know anything" about the shooting.

Referring to the allegation that his son planned to carjack Boyer and used a high-powered weapon, Burton said, "My son does not fit that description."


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