Police Charge Suspect in Derby Street Murders

By Richard Brenneman
Thursday November 20, 2008 - 10:03:00 AM

Berkeley police Tuesday arrested an already-jailed South Berkeley man for the two Sept. 18 murders in the 1400 block of Derby Street. 

The suspect, 24-year-old Desmen Riashem Lankford, was already in custody following an Oct. 9 arrest on parole violation and weapons possession charges. 

Berkeley Police spokesperson Officer Andrew Frankel said the weapon in that case was subsequently found to have been used to kill Kelvin Earl Davis, a 23-year-old Berkeley man, who was found mortally wounded along the curbside, and 42-year-old Oakland resident Kevin Antoine Parker, whose body was discovered slumped nearby behind the wheel of his wrecked car. 

Tuesday’s arrest was the second time Lankford has been booked on murder charges. On June 24, 2003, he was booked by Berkeley police after leading them on a foot chase that ended in a back yard near his home in the 1400 block of Alcatraz Avenue. 

Lankford was taken into custody then at Berkeley City Jail on suspicion of the murder of Ronald Easiley, a 19-year-old continuation school student who was gunned down on the previous Jan. 14 on Harmon Street in Berkeley. 

Officer Frankel said he didn’t know what had happened to Lankford after the earlier arrest. 

The double murder on Derby Street led to a third shooting, the wounding of a woman who lived across the street from a makeshift shrine erected after the killings. She survived her injuries. 

Frankel declined to give further details about the latest arrest, beyond acknowledging that “we believe that an additional suspect or suspects are outstanding.” 

He asked anyone with information about the crime to call BPD’s Homicide Detail at 981-5741. Those with information who would prefer anonymity may relay it through Bay Area Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.