OAKLAND -- Two East Oakland men were found guilty of second-degree murder after killing a former partner involved in a federal income tax fraud scheme.
The victim, local rapper Brondon "Thudda Boy" McDaniel, was shot multiple times and killed by Ezell Edwards, 24, and Anthony Hoskins, 31, according to testimony from witnesses.
The three witnesses included a former girlfriend of a defendant, a paid informant and a felon carrying one of the murder weapons.
Although the deputy district attorney Matt Foley was seeking a first-degree murder charge, he said he thought the verdict was fair.
"The two men committed a pretty heinous and coldblooded act, and I think the jury recognized the fact that they're two dangerous individuals and didn't want to see them out," Foley said.
Edwards and his girlfriend at the time, Reshay Collier, had worked with McDaniel filing false income tax returns in the past. Last year, when McDaniel decided to file false returns alone, Collier asked Edwards to talk to McDaniel. Instead, she said, Edwards and Hoskins confronted the victim and killed him.
Edwards had called his girlfriend and told her they shot him, and later she said the two men were joking and bragging about the crime they had committed. Four months later, Edwards was pulled over in Oakland, and one of his passengers was arrested for possessing a firearm.
The gun was tested by the crime lab and identified as one of the two murder weapons involved in the murder. The witness, Sedra Smith, told police it was Edwards' gun and he was holding it for him. Smith also said Hoskins had bragged to him about the murder.
Terrence White, the third witness and a regular confidential informant for the police, said that he and Hoskins spent time in jail together. During that time, White told police, Hoskins had admitted to the killing.
However, Barbara Thomas, a defense attorney in the case, had said that the witnesses were unreliable.
"It's kind of unfortunate that the district attorney can choose to disregard a lot of fraud that's going on and believe someone participating in organized fraud against the government and give that person immunity," Thomas said. "If you're going to believe someone like that, that's your choice."
Foley, however, said the jury found the witnesses to be reliable.