Did You Know ...
From the Office of the Alameda County District Attorney
Nancy E. O'Malley, District Attorney
April, 2010

In This Issue
What's New
Court Closures in 2010
Defendants Convicted of Multiple Murders
College Counselor Convicted of Forgery
Attorney Arrested for Fraud Scheme
From the Courtroom
Q & A
Quick Links
Point of View
Criminal Docket Finder
Inmate Locator

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District Attorney's Office Involved with Neighborhood Groups
In an ongoing effort to engage the community, create innovative crime-fighting strategies and address the public's concerns about neighborhood safety, the DA's Office and District Attorney Nancy O'Malley regularly meet with neighborhood groups and community leaders.  On March, 24, 2010, Ms. O'Malley spoke at the Oakland Neighborhood Watch Steering Committee's gathering.  There she addressed the topics of gang violence, crime victim's services, mortgage fraud and the Office's Human Exploitation and Trafficking Watch Program called H.E.A.T. Watch.  The group also discussed the coordination and collaboration between the police and community groups. On March 31, Ms. O'Malley met with the Hayward Neighborhood alerts program to discuss similar issues confronting the Hayward Community.

In a similar effort to bring the community, law enforcement and schools together to address the problem of habitual truancy, the DA's Office chaired a meeting of Oakland Unified's Truancy Task Force at Castlemont High School on March 9, 2010.  The DA's Office and OUSD will continue hosting series of meetings around the city of Oakland to engage community groups, schools and other stakeholders in addressing chronic absenteeism.

Members of the DA's Office will continue this outreach in the future.  The close interaction between neighborhood and community groups and the District Attorney's Office remains a priority and will allow for a greater sense of cooperation, communication and understanding.
 What's New
Alameda County School District Truancy Program Wins Statewide Award
The San Lorenzo Unified School District was recognized for its model Student Attendance Review Board (SARB) by the California Office of Education.  The Alameda County District Attorney's Office Truancy Unit works closely with the SARB team in a partnership to reduce habitual truancy.  This prestigious award is given annually to a school district in order to identify and recognize outstanding results-based school attendance improvement programs. These model programs provide direct services to high-risk youth with persistent school attendance or school behavior problems.

San Lorenzo's collaborative Board consists of school district staff, probation officers, law enforcement and counseling and social services.  Last school year, the Board saw a total of 86 families and was successful in improving the attendance of 63 of those families. The remaining 23 toughest cases were referred to the District Attorney's Office and legal proceedings aimed at truancy reduction began.  According to the SARB Board, " The DA's Office has been tremendously helpful in many ways.  One of the most important is just being able to tell students and families that if their attendance doesn't improve, we will be making a referral to the D.A.  Knowing that we are serious about making a referral to the District Attorney's Office is pretty powerful, especially since we have done it and the word gets around.  It is the collaboration of all the local agencies working together to strategize with families, combined with the support and follow through of your office, that makes us so successful."
Alameda County DA Wins Appeal
On March 11, 2010, Alameda County Senior Deputy District Attorney Mark Hutchins appeared before the California Court of Appeal in San Francisco to appeal a dismissal of a significant felony drug possession by a 995 judge in the case of People v. Gideon Shafrir.  In that case the preliminary hearing judge denied a defense motion to suppress evidence, ruling that CHP officers acted reasonably when they arrested a driver for DUI and then decided to tow his expensive, brand new car rather than leave it parked in a high crime area after midnight.  The 995 judge reversed the magistrate and dismissed the case, finding that CHP guidelines did not expressly permit officers to tow a car for safety reasons. 

Before a panel consisting of Presiding Justice Sandra Margulies and two other distinguished justices, Mr. Hutchins argued forcefully and convincingly that the officers behaved reasonably, and that the ruling of the preliminary hearing judge was correct.  The Court of Appeal granted the appeal and reversed the order dismissing the information under section 995 on March 29, 2009.  Criminal charges have been reinstated.

Mr. Hutchin's written conclusion in his brief to the Court of Appeal sums up his winning argument:

"In conclusion, the decision confronting Officers Tenney and Smith was quite simple: they could either tow respondent's new Mercedes Benz to a safe place, or they could leave it unattended on the street in a crime-ridden area of Oakland at around 4 A.M., not knowing how long it might sit there before Mr. Shafrir would be able to retrieve it.


And, of course, if the officers had left it there, and if Mr. Shafrir's car or his $50,000 were stolen before he was released from jail, the officers would have been harshly and justifiably criticized by the CHP and especially Mr. Shafrir. To paraphrase the court in People v. Scigliano (1987) 196 Cal.App.3d 26:

We have no doubt Mr. Shafrir would sing a different tune had the officers simply abandoned his Mercedes, and his car and the $50,000 disappeared before he could return to retrieve them. (At p. 30.)


The facts of this case demonstrate that the decision made by Officers Tenney and Smith was objectively reasonable, and that they based it on a consideration of the appropriate circumstances. Accordingly, the ruling of the trial court should be reversed."

Court Closure Days 2010
The Alameda County Superior Court will be closed the third Wednesday of each month.  The closures, which will be treated as holidays for judicial business purposes, are a result of funding reductions.  Court closures will take place in every county throughout the state. 
The following dates are planned court closures:

April 21, 2010
May 19, 2010
June 16, 2010
No court business will be conducted on these dates.  This includes both jury service and traffic court.   The Superior Courts' web site has additional information regarding the closures:
 From the Courtroom

Defendants Convicted of Multiple Murders with Special Circumstances following Brutal Crime Spree

A jury convicted defendants Stefon Johnson and Hezekiah Edwards each of two counts of first degree murder with special circumstances and one count of attempted murder on Friday, March 19, 2010.  The convictions stem from a brutal crime spree that began on March 24, 2006 in Antioch when Edwards and Johnson attempted to kidnap victims Johnny Denton and Willie Lavall Jr. at gun-point.  When they tried to escape, both victims were shot and Lavall was dragged to death as the defendants sped away from the scene in a rented minivan.


Later the same day, a pizza delivery man in Antioch was listening to a police scanner and heard the description of the minivan that fled the shooting scene.  He spotted a similar looking van in the area and noted the license plate, which he provided to the police.  The Antioch Police later tracked the van to a car rental agency at the Oakland Airport.  They located the van and discovered blood underneath it.  The van had been rented by Aberial Bradley, a family friend of defendant Edwards.


An employee of the rental car agency tipped off the defendants about the police locating the van.  The defendants decided to kill Bradley to prevent her from talking to authorities.  With the help of Edward's girlfriend, the defendants set up a trap and lured Bradley to a residence in Oakland.  There, an unidentified gunman shot Bradley six times as she was seated in her car, killing her.


"We are extremely pleased with the jury's verdicts.  The defendants in this case were particularly vicious.  Both the Antioch and Oakland Police Departments did an outstanding job investigating these brutal murders and gathering the evidence that allowed us to present a very compelling case at trial," states Deputy District Attorney John Brouhard, the prosecutor of the case.


"We commend the coordinated effort of the police agencies that worked together to ensure that justice prevailed and allowed these dangerous killers to be removed from our streets.  We hope that these verdicts will bring some solace to the surviving family members of the murdered victims," says District Attorney Nancy E. O'Malley.


Both defendants are scheduled to be sentenced on June 4, 2010.  They face a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

College Counselor Convicted of Forgery, Identity Theft Related to Real Estate Fraud Scheme

On March 1, jurors in Alameda County Superior Court convicted Shirley J. Robinson, a counselor and Department Chair at the College of Alameda, in a real estate fraud and identity theft scheme perpetrated at the height of the real estate boom of 2005.


The jury deliberated for five hours before returning guilty verdicts against Robinson on 10 felony counts of forgery and identity theft in a scheme designed to take legal title away from Robinson's friend of 50 years, Alze Roberts, on a house located in a residential neighborhood of Oakland.  Robinson was remanded into custody immediately following the jury verdict where she will remain until her sentencing date on March 29, 2010 in Department 5 of the Alameda County Superior Court.


In 1998, victim Roberts had taken title to the property from her friend Robinson to help prevent the home from going into foreclosure.  In 2005, after victim Roberts had invested substantial money into the property, defendant Robinson wanted to purchase the property back from victim Roberts.  When victim Roberts disagreed over the sales price, Robinson created a forged power-of-attorney in an attempt to sell the property without victim Robert's knowledge.  Robinson, who owed over $175,000 in state and federal back taxes, planned to use the equity in the property to pay off the back taxes.  In addition to forging the name of victim Roberts, Robinson also stole the identity of three other individuals to make the forged power of attorney look legitimate. 


"This case highlights the greed that existed during the real estate boom from 2005-2007," said David Lim, a member of the real estate fraud unit of the Alameda County District Attorney's Office and the lead prosecutor in the case.  "Defendant Robinson was driven by greed and a desire to use the equity in a home she no longer owned to try and pay off outstanding debts."


 "We are grateful to the jury for holding defendant Robinson accountable for her crimes.  Our office will always strive to protect innocent victims from having their identity stolen for illegal purposes," says DA Nancy O'Malley.

Attorney Arrested for Role in Staged Auto Accident Insurance Fraud Scheme

On March 30, 2010, a Los Angeles attorney, Susana Ragos Chung, surrendered on an arrest warrant obtained by the Alameda County District Attorney's Office for her role in a widespread automobile insurance fraud scheme occurring in the Bay Area. She has been charged with 28 felony offenses following a long investigation known as "Phantom Menace" that was conducted jointly by the Alameda County District Attorney's Office, the Fraud Division of the California Department of Insurance and the California Highway Patrol.

The charges against Chung and her office manager, Ingrid Attillo, indicate that for several years she acted as the conduit of fraudulent insurance claims associated with a large number of "staged accidents" in Northern California.  The fraud ring included a "capper" who orchestrated the fake accidents by recruiting the drivers and passengers who would say they were in the "accidents," the auto body shop willing to falsify repair records and the medical providers willing to falsify medical records.  Once the recruitment and information gathering was complete, it would be forwarded to Chung and she would submit the fraudulent insurance claims to a variety of insurance companies.  The capper, Norberto "Chito" Mora, is currently serving an 8 year prison sentence for his role in the fraud ring.

Investigators determined that Chung paid Mora for the cases and then submitted claims on behalf of "clients" whom she had never met or even talked to.  When confronted by investigators, many of these participants indicated that they never even knew they had a lawyer.  Most of the purported "accidents" were not memorialized with a police report, many of the "accidents" occurred at the same locations, virtually every "accident" involved multiple passengers, most of the "accidents" led to all the participants going to the same chiropractor (who was not their regular doctor), far away from their homes, and the same small stable of chiropractors (three of whom have now been convicted of felony insurance fraud) was repeatedly used in Mora's cases.

According to District Attorney O'Malley, "large insurance fraud schemes are often highly sophisticated.  An essential part of such a criminal enterprise is the attorney who acts as a front for the organization by submitting claims on behalf of clients.  This investigation required extensive and diligent investigation, entailing the meticulous collection of circumstantial evidence.  We are therefore very proud of our success in partnering with the Department of Insurance and the Highway Patrol in this case."       
Since the investigation began in 2006, the Alameda County District Attorney's Office has obtained 94 convictions of individual defendants involved in this ring, including 63 felony convictions. 

March 2010 - Felony Verdicts

  • On March 25, 2010, a jury convicted Kaian Brandon of murder and assault resulting in death of a child under the age of 8. The victim was three-year-old Kiara "Kiki" Irwine. She was beaten to death by Brandon, her mother's live-in boyfriend, on November 11, 2005, in their San Leandro apartment. Kiki was a healthy and happy baby on Thursday, November 10, 2005. When her mother left for work at 3:00 am, she left her children in the defendant's care. Defendant woke up on November 11, 2005, which was his 24th birthday. It was also Veteran's Day, a school holiday, so he was saddled with taking care of four children, three of whom were not his biological children. Kiki was in the process of potty-training and she had an accident on the bedroom floor. Defendant beat her to death and was overheard by a next-door neighbor saying, "I don't care if you die!" Cause of death was multiple blunt injuries, the most severe of which was a transected pancreas. Sentencing date is 6/24/10 and his exposure is 25 years to life in prison. The prosecutor was DDA Stacie Pettigrew.

  • Michael Collins was found guilty of first degree murder on March 25, 2010. He was convicted of killing Albert Hayes on August 31, 2001, in Oakland. Collins stabbed Hayes to death when he found Hayes in the company of his ex-girlfriend. The sentencing date is April 26, 2010; the defendant's exposure is 26 years to life in Prison. The Prosecutor was DDA Lindsey Walsh.

  • A jury convicted defendants Stefon Johnson and Hezekaih Edwards of two counts of first degree murder with special circumstances and one count of attempted murder on Friday, March 19, 2010. The convictions stem from a brutal crime spree that began in Antioch on March 24, 2006, with the murder of Willie Lavell Jr. and attempted murder of Johnny Edwards. The two also killed Aberial Bradley in Oakland days later. Both defendants are scheduled to be sentenced on June 4, 2010. They face a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. The Prosecutor was DDA John Brouhard.

  • On March 11, 2010, an Alameda County jury found defendant Javario Crear guilty of first degree murder with personal use of a firearm. Crear shot victim Angelo Lewis on the evening of June 30, 2006 in a parking lot in front of 1130 62nd Street in North Oakland. Crear used a .380 semi-automatic firearm to fire three bullets at close range into Lewis. The twenty-two year-old victim was rushed to the hospital, but his injuries were too severe and he was pronounced dead just before midnight. The jury also convicted Crear of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Sentencing is scheduled for May 14, 2010. Given Crear's prior criminal history, he faces a potential sentence of over 80 years to life in state prison. Prosecutor was DDA Tim Wellman

  • Will Anderson was found guilty after a jury trial on March 10, 2010, of robbery with a prior conviction. On July 20, 2007, Anderson robbed the Bank of the West in Fremont. Fremont Police Department detectives suspected Anderson, who was on federal parole at the time of the robbery. Witnesses identified Anderson shortly after the robbery. The prosecutor was DDA Butch Ford.

  • On March 10, 2010, a jury found Alexander Gee guilty of robbery. On November 19, 2009, at approximately 6:20 AM the defendant entered the McDonald's on 98th Avenue and International Blvd. in Oakland. He pulled out a 9mm replica BB gun and demanded the manager to empty the register. The manager fled through the back door and the defendant was caught on surveillance stealing approximately $103.00 from the register. This is the defendant's third strike. He will be sentenced on April 23, 2010. The Prosecutor was DDA Venus Johnson.

  • On March 1, a jury convicted Shirley J. Robinson, a counselor and Department Chair at the College of Alameda, in a real estate fraud and identity theft scheme perpetrated at the height of the real estate boom of 2005. Robinson was convicted of 10 felony counts of forgery and identity theft in a scheme designed to take legal title away from Robinson's friend of 50 years, Alze Roberts, on a house located in a residential neighborhood of Oakland. Robinson created a forged power of attorney in an attempt to sell the property without victim Robert's knowledge. In addition to forging the name of victim Roberts, Robinson also stole the identity of three other individuals to make the forged power of attorney look legitimate. Robinson was remanded into custody immediately following the verdict. The Prosecutor was DDA David Lim.

Misdemeanor Verdicts

  • On March 25, 2010, James Jackson was found guilty by a jury of two counts of resisting arrest, Penal Code Section 148. On February 28, 2009 the defendant seen using unauthorized red discount BART ticket (reserved for those under-12 or with disabilities). He was stopped by officers, who found a replica semi-automatic handgun in his sweatshirt pocket. When the officers attempted to arrest him, the defendant he bent back the officer's fingers, causing injury, and ran six blocks away from station. He was stopped by responding BART units. The Prosecutor was DDA Eric Swalwell.

  • On March 16, 2010, a jury convicted Michael Bellinger of a misdemeanor, a violation of Penal Code section 314.1, indecent exposure. On March 13, 2009, he defendant lived behind St. John Elementary School in San Lorenzo and would use stuffed animals to attract the attention of the schoolgirls before exposing himself. This conduct had been going on for several years until two of the girls reported it to their mothers in March of 2009. After his conviction, the defendant was sentenced to three years probation and 60 days in County Jail. He is also ordered to move from his residence and not to reside within 100 yards of a school and is to stay away from children unless supervised. He must register as a sex offender and attend a sex offender treatment program. The prosecutor was DDA Angela Chew.

  • On March 8, 2010, a jury found Ricardo Lazo of a misdemeanor for the possession of vandalism tools. On July 9, 2009, Lazo was seen near a vandalized train-yard storage container in Oakland. Near the defendant police found a backpack containing aerosol cans and paint supplies. Prosecutor was DDA Eric Swalwell.

 Q & A
"I lead a watch group in my Alameda County neighborhood.  We would like to know more about the DA's Office and crimes specific to our area.  Is there a way we can request a representative from your office to meet with us?"
Yes!  We welcome the opportunity to address community and neighborhood groups.  You can contact the Office at (510) 272-6222.
Do you have a question for the District Attorney's Office?
The District Attorney's Office receives many calls and e-mails from the public asking a wide variety of questions.  Each month, we will print one of these questions along with the answer.  We hope that many readers will find the information useful.

Please feel free to e-mail a question of your own that you would like to see answered here.

 Until Next Issue...
We hope you found this newsletter informative.  Please visit our web site at for updated news items as well as more detailed information regarding the District Attorney's Office. 
Nancy E. O'Malley
Alameda County District Attorney