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Berkeley man gets 40 years to life for murdering childhood friend

Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Friday May 05, 2017 - 02:24:00 PM

A Berkeley man was sentenced today to 40 years to life in state prison for fatally shooting a childhood friend during a dice game in South Berkeley in 2015 in what a prosecutor said was a callous and unfeeling act. 

Anthony Durant, 26, was convicted on Jan. 31 of second-degree murder for the shooting death of 24-year-old Christian Sheppard of Stockton near the Rosewood apartment complex near the corner of Russell and California streets shortly after 8:30 p.m. on Oct. 6, 2015. 

Prosecutor Jimmie Wilson said the motive for the shooting, in which he said Durant fired 16 shots at Sheppard, has never been made totally clear but there are indications that Durant and Sheppard had had an ongoing dispute over monetary issues. 

But Wilson said Durant and Sheppard had known each other since they were children and "a friend killed a friend." 

Wilson said Sheppard "never expected him (Durant) to do this to him." 

The prosecutor said, "What makes this so tragic is that he (Sheppard) never believed this person (Durant) would betray him like he did." 

Alameda County Superior Court Judge C. Don Clay, who sentenced Durant said the shooting "was a matter of stupidity and never should have happened." 

Sheppard's mother, Wanda Hunter, said of the shooting, "I'm not at all at peace about how this all happened. It saw so malicious and he (Durant) isn't remorseful about it." 

Hunter told Durant, "You chose to jeopardize your freedom by doing something you shouldn't have done." 

Durant testified during his trial that he didn't kill Sheppard, claiming that Sheppard was killed by a masked gunman who suddenly appeared and tried to rob them. 

But Wilson said Durant's didn't provide any evidence to support that claim and jurors didn't believe his story. 

At his sentencing hearing today, Durant, who has long dreadlocks, told Sheppard's family that, "I'm sorry we are here in this situation and I'm sorry for your loss" but insisted that "I did not murder Christian." 

Durant said, "I want to clear my name and I want to get that off my chest." 

Wilson said, "I don't look at Anthony Durant as monster but instead as a failed individual who just doesn't get it." 

Durant was arrested in connection with a June 11, 2014, shooting at the same corner of Russell and California streets that sent two young men to the hospital but prosecutors didn't uncover enough evidence against him to make the charges against him stick. 





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