OAKLAND -- One of the key witnesses in the death penalty case against a man accused of killing an 8-year-old girl said the defendant confessed everything to her the night of the murder.
Britney Rogers is the ex-girlfriend of Darnell Williams, 25, of Oakland, who is murder charges in the killings of Alaysha Carradine, 8, in Oakland and seven weeks later Anthony Medearis Jr. 22, in Berkeley. Williams faces the death penalty if convicted.
Rogers, who is pregnant and under witness protection, took the witness stand Monday in the Oakland courtroom to testify against her ex-boyfriend. She said that Williams came home the night of July 7, 2013, to her place, took off a bulletproof vest he was wearing and began pacing the room, looking out the window as if in deep thought. When she asked him what was wrong, he spilled everything.
Prosecutors allege that Williams went to the apartment where Alaysha was staying that night with a friend, because he believed that the estranged father of the two children who lived there had shot and killed his close friend Jermaine Davis, 26, earlier that same day.
Rogers said Williams described going to a meeting at a friend's house after learning of Davis' death. From there, Williams allegedly learned the apartment's address and was given a ride by another friend, she said. He allegedly told her how he knocked on the door, gun ready, and started shooting when the door knob twisted. Rogers said that he saw a woman on the couch, who he thought was the "baby mama" of the man he was looking for, and kept firing. The woman was actually the grandmother of the two children who lived there.
It was then that the grandmother, Alaysha, her 7-year-old friend and a 4-year-old boy were wounded.
The next morning, Rogers recounted seeing the TV news of the death of Alaysha and began crying. She said Williams then threatened to hurt her and her family if she told anyone what he told her.
She decided to comply, since she feared for her life and her children's lives.
"So I did what I had to do to protect mine," Rogers said about her children.
The jury was shown texts Rogers sent her sister about how she feared Williams. One said, "He think I'm setting him up!" She said she didn't go to police because she was on felony probation and feared she might get arrested herself. She eventually went to police about two months later.
Alaysha's friend, who was 7 at the time of the shooting but is now 10 years old, also took the stand last week. The young girl described seeing a black man with short hair wearing a black sweatshirt firing shots into her apartment. The young girl, wearing a black T-shirt and jeans, answered prosecutor John Brouhard's questions about what happened that day before her friend was shot with ease. But when he began asking questions about the actual shooting, even what it sounded like when the shots were fired, the girl looked down and was quiet. When done with her testimony, she walked out of the courtroom covering her face.
Alaysha was at her friend's house for a sleepover. When found by emergency responders that night, her teal-colored shirt with the word "love" on it was covered in blood.
Contact Angela Ruggiero at 510-293-2469 and follow her at Twitter.com/aeruggie.