OAKLAND -- Two men who killed a father with two punches to the head in the city's Uptown neighborhood two years ago were sent to prison for seven years Monday under a plea deal approved by the victim's family.
Dominic Davis, 19, and Lavonte Drummer, 20, both of Oakland, agreed to plead "no contest" to a charge of voluntary manslaughter in exchange for the Alameda County District Attorney's Office not seeking a second-degree murder conviction against the pair for killing Tiansheng Yu, 59.
Yu suffered trauma to the head after Drummer and Davis punched him in the face, causing him to smash the back of his head on a concrete sidewalk as he fell backward from the blows.
The confrontation caused outrage from the city's Asian community who said it served as a perfect example of a spate of increased violence against Asians in Oakland.
"The defendants in this case, they shocked the entire community because this could happen to anyone walking down the street in downtown Oakland," said Carl Chan, chairmen of the Oakland Chinatown Crime Prevention Counsel, who was representing Yu's wife and son. "Let's stop the violence and killing on the streets, let (this) family be the last family to suffer."
The confrontation began when Yu chased down and confronted the pair after they "cold-clocked" his 27-year-old son while Yu was parking a car.
Yu and his son had come to Oakland from San Francisco to visit a coin store near the Fox Theater when Davis and Drummer saw Yu's son walking on the sidewalk toward the store.
Once Yu realized what had happened to his son, he tracked down Davis and Drummer, pointing his finger at the pair and asking them to explain their actions.
Instead, both Davis and Drummer simultaneously threw a punch that caused Yu to fall backward and smash his head. Yu died several days later from severe head trauma.
Alameda County deputy district attorney Tim Wellman said his office agreed to the deal to ensure Davis and Drummer would spend a "significant" term in prison and be held responsible for the killing.
Had the case gone before a jury, Wellman said, it could have resulted in the pair being found guilty of involuntary manslaughter, a crime that would have resulted in them getting released immediately after the trial.
Wellman said the pair had a legitimate defense of not intending to kill when they punched Yu and that it could have been reasonable for a jury to conclude that the pair did not believe that punching someone would have resulted in death.
While Drummer and Davis were officially sentenced to 11 years in prison, the pair could be released after seven years because they only have to serve 85 percent of their sentence and already served two years in jail.
Chan said the Yu's wife and son agreed to the plea deal because they did not want to relive the horror of the killing during testimony at a trial.
In fact, Chan said, Yu's son continues to suffer from depression from the killing because he blames himself, in part, for his father's death. Meanwhile, Yu's wife is now struggling to pay the mortgage on their San Francisco home because Yu was the bread winner of the family.