HAYWARD -- The three young revelers killed in a shooting outside a San Leandro warehouse party in 2011 were victims of a premeditated "massacre" by East Bay gang members, a prosecutor told jurors Monday at the trial for three men charged in the triple slaying.
"Each of the victims was helpless ... they didn't stand a chance," deputy district attorney Jimmie Wilson said during his opening statement. "The victims in this case were massacred."
The shooting in the early morning of Oct. 2, 2011, killed Shanice Kiel, 19, of San Francisco, Leneasha Northington, 16, of San Leandro, and Joshua Alford, 23, of Oakland.
They were sitting in a parked Ford Explorer sport-utility vehicle after attending a "tattoo party" in a warehouse at Gardco Industrial Park at Alvarado Street and Aladdin Avenue. Three others were wounded when gunmen walked next to and in front of the SUV and opened fire on seven people sitting inside.
Accused of the killings are Paul Arthur Stevenson, 22, of Oakland; Anthony Alvin Perry II, 23, of Oakland; and Aaron Isaiah Stewart, 21, of Fairfield -- members of an East Bay street gang called the Mob Squad, said Wilson.
A fourth defendant, Stanley Leon Turner, 20, of Oakland, is expected to plead guilty to a lesser charge and will testify against the three men in exchange for a lighter sentence, Wilson said.
The prosecutor said the defendants wanted to shoot Alford because they didn't like the way he and his friends -- alleged members of another gang -- were talking loudly at the party.
Wilson showed jurors photographs from the crime scene, including close-up pictures of bullet wounds and the unconscious, bloodied victims. The images hushed the audience of about 50 people until a victim's relative started weeping.
At the party, Perry was carrying a .40 caliber pistol, while Stewart had a 9 mm handgun and Stevenson carried a .22 caliber handgun, Wilson said. After the shooting, San Leandro police detectives found 15 shell casings from a .40 caliber pistol and four casings from a 9 mm handgun, the prosecutor said.
"When they arrived, it looked like a battlefield," Wilson told jurors. "The parking lot was littered with casings."
But one defendant's attorney reminded jurors that the existence of a street gang is not enough reason to find a defendant guilty. Alexander Selvin, representing Stevenson, also listed several reasons Monday why jurors should doubt witnesses for the prosecution.
"There will be big, big twists and turns" over the course of the trial, he said.
In his 30-minute-long opening statement, Selvin said he would prove that three key witnesses -- including two inside the vehicle -- cannot positively identify Stevenson. He also noted that several people at the party have admitted to smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol before and during the party, which would have clouded their memory.
"Did anyone really see Paul Stevenson with a gun at the time of the shooting?" Selvin said. "That's what this case is about, from my standpoint."
Darryl Stallworth and Tom Broome, the attorneys representing Perry and Stewart, were set to deliver their opening statements late Monday afternoon.
The defendants are charged with three counts of murder and four counts of premeditated attempted murder. Each is facing life in prison without possibility of parole if convicted during the trial that has the Alameda County Sheriff's Office providing increased security, including a metal detector outside the courtroom entrance.
Staff writer Malaika Fraley contributed to this report. Contact Chris De Benedetti at 510-353-7011. Follow him at Twitter.com/cdebenedetti.