OAKLAND -- Michael Peau told a jury Wednesday that he killed Roberto Guzman Jr. in self-defense after the 20-year-old tried to attack him with a screwdriver.
Peau said Guzman was angry at him for selling the father of Guzman's girlfriend a stolen car without telling the father the car was taken during a carjacking about a week before.
Peau, 24, also said he was lured by Guzman to a home in West Oakland where he shot Guzman 10 times. But, he said, he couldn't remember anything after firing four shots into the ground as Guzman lurched toward him with the screwdriver in his hand.
Deputy district attorney Luis Marin told the jury that Peau is lying.
"You don't shoot someone 10 times for any other intention but to kill them," Marin said during closing arguments of this murder trial. "Just because someone takes the stand and swears to an oath doesn't mean they're not lying."
The killing occurred in front of 3288 Hannah Street in West Oakland at noon Sept. 24, 2011. It occurred as Guzman was changing the oil in his car and after Peau pulled up in a two-toned late model Mazda that neighbors all knew he drove.
According to one witness, the two men began talking when Peau pulled out a .9 mm semi-automatic Glock handgun and began to fire, not stopping until the entire clip was empty even as Guzman fell to the ground, his body riddled with bullets.
Marin said the shooting was sparked by the car sale that almost got Gerardio Vasquez arrested when he attempted to register the vehicle, not knowing it was taken during a carjacking about a week before.
Vasquez never told police that Peau sold him the car but told Peau that he was no longer trusted and should not come by the house any longer. Guzman also did not want Peau around. Three days before the shooting, he had a confrontation with the admitted drug dealer during which Guzman told Peau to leave the area. Peau responded by flashing two guns. Marin said that Peau felt "disrespected" after that confrontation.
On the day he was killed, witnesses said, Guzman had gone to the street to work on his car when Peau drove by. A neighbor testified that she saw Peau drive by the home Guzman shared with the Vasquez family at least three times before she saw Peau get out of his vehicle and confront Guzman.
Marin said evidence proving Guzman was hit with 10 bullets, several of which entered his back, show that the 20-year-old posed no threat to Peau even if the jury believed Guzman ¿initially tried to attack Peau with a screwdriver.
And Peau's testimony that he fired into the ground is unbelievable because it would mean all four bullets Peau fired at the pavement somehow bounced back and entered Guzman's body, Marin said.
Peau's actions after the killing also indicate that Peau should be convicted of murder, Marin said.
Rather than report the shooting to police as self-defense, Peau attempted to hide evidence, Marin said. He left his car a block from the scene, had his girlfriend report it stolen and then paid a woman to drive it away. And when Peau was arrested, he never told police that he shot in self-defense, Marin said. Instead, he denied he had anything to do with the shooting.
David Bryden, Peau's attorney, argued that his client should be found guilty, at most, of voluntary manslaughter because the prosecutor failed to provide evidence contradicting Peau's testimony that he was attacked with a screwdriver.
Bryden also urged the jury not to convict Peau of murder just because he admitted being a drug dealer who always arms himself with illegal handguns.
"How stupid would it be for Mr. Peau to drive into a neighborhood with a car that he knows everyone knows is his and shoot someone down in broad daylight," Bryden said. "Just because Michael Peau doesn't follow the law, it doesn't mean juries should not follow the law."