OAKLAND -- A murder case against two East Oakland men accused of killing a former partner in a federal income tax fraud scheme relies on a jury's trust of three witnesses who said the pair confessed to the crimes.
Deputy district attorney Matt Foley said in closing arguments Wednesday that the three witnesses should be trusted because it would be impossible for three people who do not know each other to come to court and lie about details of a murder only someone who witnessed it or was told about it would know.
"All three of these individuals explained to you how these two men committed murder," Foley said. "It's beyond comprehension that these three individuals would come in here and all lie about the same thing."
The three witnesses, a former girlfriend of a defendant, a paid informant and a felon caught with the murder weapon, all said that Ezell Edwards, 24, and Anthony Hoskins, 31, killed local rapper Brondon "Thudda Boy" McDaniel because of a dispute over a tax fraud scheme.
All three witnesses also said that Hoskins and Edwards bragged about the killing and discussed how they shot McDaniel in the head "spilling his noodles," and how they watched flesh fly off McDaniel's body as they riddled it with seven bullets.
The witnesses all came to police in different manners and for different reasons but each told similar stories about Hoskins' and Edwards' alleged murder, Foley said.
Edwards' girlfriend, Reshay Collier, helped police discover a motive for the slaying as she described how she, Edwards and McDaniel had worked together filing false income tax returns. Last year, when McDaniel conducted the scheme on his own, Collier said she became upset and asked Edwards to talk to McDaniel.
Instead, Collier said, Edwards returned home with Hoskins and told Collier that they killed McDaniel. Collier testified during the trial that Edwards and Hoskins bragged about the killing as they talked about how it took numerous bullets to ensure McDaniel was dead.
Another witness, Sedra Smith, told police about the murder after a gun he was carrying was connected to a killing through a ballistics test. Smith was with Edwards in a car when police stopped them and found the gun on Smith. Smith eventually told police that the gun belonged to Edwards and that Edwards told him about the murder.
The third witness, Terrence White, was a regular confidential informant for the police, who said that he and Hoskins spent time at Santa Rita Jail together. During that time, White told police, Hoskins admitted the killing to him.
Defense attorneys Barbara Thomas and Darryl Billups said that finding their clients guilty based on testimony from three unreliable witnesses would be a miscarriage of justice.