OAKLAND -- Four alleged Oakland gang members accused of killing three people were described by a prosecutor as a close-knit group that discussed, planned and carried out a revenge killing to avenge the death of one of their most respected members.
On Tuesday, attorneys representing those men described to the jury an opposite scenario, in which four men, proud of their neighborhood, have been erroneously labeled a gang and prosecuted for crimes they did not commit.
Each attorney gave different reasons for why their client was innocent, but all agreed that the prosecution of their clients as a gang is a ploy meant to elicit an emotional reaction from the jury.
"There are a lot of theories in this case based on very little foundation," said Richard Humphrey, who represents Anthony Price, 30. "Appealing to passionate prejudice is why you saw the guns as much as you did; it's why you saw the (victim's) pictures as much as you did; it's why the district attorney raised his voice and said things like savage, despicable and lowdown."
Price is one of four North Oakland men accused of killing the brother of a rival gang member in Berkeley and then killing two others after a high-speed chase resulted in an accident in Oakland that killed a driver of another car and a pedestrian.
Price and Rafael Campbell, 28, are accused of the three murders under the legal theory of aiding and abetting. Both are accused of knowing about and agreeing to a plan to kill the brother of a rival gang member for revenge.
Samuel Flowers, 25, is accused of killing the rival's brother, Charles Davis, 23, and Stephon Anthony, 23, is accused of driving the getaway car that led police on a high-speed chase that resulted in the death of Todd Perea, 27, and Floyd Ross Jr., 42.
Anthony and Price were arrested at the scene of the accident; Campbell and Flowers are accused of running from the scene. Campbell was arrested about six months later in Sacramento after being feature on "America's Most Wanted." Flowers was arrested about two weeks after the killings in Florida.
All four are accused of killing Davis and then leading police on a reckless high-speed chase in an effort to enhance the reputation of their gang.
Attorneys representing Price and Campbell asked a jury not to connect their clients to the gang or the crimes that occurred on May 16, 2009. Campbell's attorney, Andrea Auer, said there was no evidence to prove her client was even in the car or present at the shooting.
But if the jury believed Campbell was present, Auer said, there was no proof showing he knew that Flowers planned to gun down Davis. Humphrey made the same argument on behalf of Price as he urged the jury not believe that the four men worked together because they shared tattoos and are seen in photos flashing alleged gang signs.
Anthony's attorney, Darryl Stallworth, admitted his client led police on a high-speed chase but said his client only did so because he was scared when his friend jumped into the car with an assault rifle and told him to move. Stallworth also said his client had no idea there was going to be a shooting and should not be found guilty of first-degree murder for the car accident because he did not plan to kill.
Flowers' attorney, Alexander Selvin, said the prosecutor had not proved his client was the shooter, even though a witness identified Flowers as holding the gun and a hat the shooter was wearing had traces of Flowers' DNA.
Selvin said the witness is mistaken and that the DNA only proves that Flowers had worn the hat at one time in the past.
The jury of seven women and five men could begin deliberations Wednesday.