A Richmond man was convicted today of first-degree murder and attempted second-degree robbery for the shooting death of 23-year-old Wayne Drummond of Oakland near the University of California at Berkeley campus three years ago.
An Alameda County Superior Court jury deliberated for only three hours before delivering its verdict against 23-year-old Nicholas Beaudreaux for the Sept. 4, 2006, incident.
Beaudreaux faces a term of 50 years to life in state prison when Judge C. Don Clay sentences him on Aug. 28. Sentencing guidelines call for him to get 25 years to life for his first-degree murder conviction and another 25 years for using a gun to cause Drummond’s death.
Prosecutor Tim Wellman told jurors in his closing argument on Monday that the incident began shortly after midnight on Sept. 4, 2006, when Drummond got into a confrontation with 21-year-old Brandon Crowder of Berkeley outside Blakes on Telegraph at 2367 Telegraph Ave. in Berkeley.
Drummond, who grew up in Southern California but attended a junior college in the Bay Area, had been friends with Crowder but their relationship had soured in the weeks before the shooting.
Wellman said that for reasons that haven’t been made clear, Beaudreux, who has known Crowder since they were in middle school together but didn’t know Drummond, injected himself into the confrontation and told Drummond, “I don’t know how to fight, but I know how to use this metal in my waist.”
Four witnesses testified that Beaudreaux then pulled out a gun, stuck it into Drummond’s neck and demanded Drummond’s wallet, Wellman said.
The prosecutor said that instead of surrendering and handing over his wallet, Drummond chose to fight back and struggled with Beaudreaux over control of Beaudreaux’s gun.
Defense attorney David Kelvin said the gun went off during the struggle and that Drummond may even have accidentally pulled the trigger himself, but Wellman said witness testimony and the angle of the single bullet that struck Drummond in his torso indicates that Beaudreaux deliberately pulled the trigger and shot Drummond from a short distance.
Wellman said Drummond’s friends and a Berkeley police officer who came to the scene a few moments later attended to Drummond while he was lying on a sidewalk but they didn’t see any blood and didn’t take him to the hospital because they didn’t realize he had had been shot.
Instead, Drummond’s friends drove him to a friend’s room at the Alpha Omicron Pi sorority at 2311 Prospect St., near the UC Berkeley campus, where he collapsed and died shortly after 2:30 a.m. that day.
Beaudreaux and Crowder weren’t arrested until February 2008 because it took authorities time to develop sufficient evidence in the case.
Crowder was initially also charged with murder in connection with Drummond’s death, as Berkeley police said they believed he had directed Beaudreaux to shoot Drummond.
But prosecutors allowed Crowder to plead guilty to the lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter on June 15 in exchange for his testimony against Beaudreaux, and Crowder testified last week.
Crowder, who was arrested for allegedly threatening a basketball player at a UC Berkeley facility in December 2007, could face up to six years in state prison when Clay sentences him on July 21, but Wellman said Crowder could also be freed at that time, after only 18 months in custody, if Clay determines that he testified truthfully.
Beaudreaux, who was dressed in a light green shirt and dark brown pants, bowed his head when the verdict was read but smiled when he spoke with Kelvin afterwards.
Kelvin said the verdict “was not good news” for Beaudreaux but declined further comment.
Wellman wasn’t immediately available for comment because he rushed off to talk to the jurors in the case.