OAKLAND -- Jurors deliberated for less than two hours before finding a Hercules man guilty on Wednesday of first-degree murder for his role in the 2011 killing of an Oakland marijuana grower during a robbery gone wrong in Alameda.

Alameda County prosecutor Patrick Moriarty said Charles Kimbrough served as "the muscle" in a three-man team that plotted to rob 32-year-old William Adrian Falcon Sapp on April 20, 2011, after answering Sapp's Craigslist ad for marijuana for sale.

The plan went tragically wrong after Sapp, a U.S. Navy veteran who had recently moved to Oakland from Florida, fought off the would-be robbers and was fatally shot with his own gun by Richard Ezell, the fake buyer in the scheme.

The plan mastermind Christopher Donaldson, 25, was sentenced earlier this month to 32 years to life in state prison for convictions by jury of first-degree murder for Sapp's death, and second-degree robbery for setting up another marijuana grower who had advertised on Craigslist in Berkeley in February 2011.

Ezell, 25, of Mendocino County, took a plea deal in the case and is scheduled to be sentenced to 15 years to life in prison.

Both Ezell and Kimbrough pleaded no contest to second-degree murder earlier this year, but Kimbrough's plea deal was nullified once he refused to testify against Donaldson.


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The killing occurred in Alameda's Summer House Apartments, on Buena Vista Avenue, where Donaldson hid out in his sister's unit while Kimbrough and Ezell followed his orders to rob Sapp of $1,550 worth of marijuana. Sapp was growing medical marijuana legally for local pot clubs before his death.

Sapp ended up beating Kimbrough badly but let the gun he had brought for protection slip away during the struggle, and Ezell grabbed it, according to testimony at the two trials. Sapp picked up the gun brought by Kimbrough -- unaware that it was fake -- and pointed it at Ezell just before Ezell fired the fatal shot.

Kimbrough faces 26 years to life in prison at his sentencing scheduled for Oct. 31, according to Moriarty.

Contact Malaika Fraley at 925-234-1684. Follow her at Twitter.com/malaikafraley.