New: Man Convicted of Murder for 2010 Berkeley Shooting

Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Monday March 21, 2016 - 03:11:00 PM

A Bay Point man was convicted today of first-degree murder and attempted murder for a shooting outside a Berkeley barbershop in October 2010 that left one man dead and another seriously wounded. 

Brandon Wallace, 26, faces more than 50 years in state prison for his conviction in the shooting outside Johnson's House of Style in the 2900 block of Sacramento Street in Berkeley at 8:45 a.m. on Oct. 26, 2010. 

Gary Ferguson Jr., a 35-year-old Oakland man, was killed in the shooting and Larry Belle, who worked as a barber at the barbershop, was wounded. 

Prosecutor Matt Wendt said Wallace, who looked down when the jury's verdict was announced early in its second day of deliberations, was one of two shooters in the incident but the second suspected shooter has never been arrested or charged. 

In his closing argument last week, Wendt didn't specify a motive for the shooting but said Wallace and the second shooter fired more than 20 shots from two different guns. 

Wendt said surveillance camera footage showed the suspect who remains at large accidentally shooting Wallace, who was holding a gun, in the back of his left leg as Wallace was backing away from the scene after Ferguson and Belle were shot. 

He said when Berkeley police contacted local hospitals afterward to see if they were treating anyone who had suffered gunshot wounds to his left leg, they discovered that Wallace was getting medical treatment at a Kaiser Permanente hospital in Richmond after he provided a false name. 

Wendt said when police went to Wallace's hospital room, they found blue jeans and tennis shoes that were similar to those worn by one of the suspected shooters in the surveillance video. 

Wallace's lawyer, Bonnie Narby, had asked jurors to find Wallace not guilty, saying he couldn't have been one of the shooters because he had gone to Richmond that morning to meet up with a woman he had recently met.  

Narby said as Wallace left the BART station near 16th Street and MacDonald Avenue, a man came up and asked him for change for a $20 bill but when he fumbled for change, the man tried to rob him and shot him. 

The defense lawyer said Wallace waved down a driver to take him to the hospital and checked in under a false name because he had an outstanding warrant for his arrest on an unrelated matter. 

But Wendt said Wallace's testimony that he was shot in Richmond that morning was "ridiculous" because it wasn't corroborated by ShotSpotter gunshot detection technology used by Richmond police to track reports of gunfire. 

Narby said she believes Berkeley police "rushed to judgment" by focusing on Wallace as a suspect within two hours of the shooting and said there's little direct evidence that ties Wallace to the shooting. 

In addition, Narby said the prosecution failed to provide a reason why Wallace might have wanted to kill Ferguson and Belle or that he even knew them before the shooting. 

A third suspect, 26-year-old Coleon Carroll of Berkeley, who allegedly was the driver in the shooting incident, had been scheduled to stand trial with Wallace. 

But Carroll recently pleaded no contest to the lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter in a plea agreement and was sentenced earlier today to 13 years in state prison. He didn't testify at Wallace's trial. 

Wendt said after Wallace was convicted today that he hopes the jury's verdict brings closure to Ferguson's family. Narby declined to comment on the verdict. 

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Jon Rolefson will schedule a sentencing date for Wallace when he returns to court on Tuesday for a hearing at which the prosecution will ask that Wallace's prior convictions be confirmed, which could add more time to his prison sentence. 




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