OAKLAND -- Jury deliberations begin Thursday at the trial for two felons whose gunfight at a busy Oakland gas station led to a former Oakland Tribune freelance photographer getting killed by a stray bullet.

Prosecutor Stacie Pettigrew asked jurors on Wednesday to convicted Donel Poston, 37, and Joe McNeely, 38, of second-degree murder in the slaying of 54-year-old Oakland resident Lionel Fluker, and of attempted murder for the shots they fired at each other after their confrontation at the Valero station on MacArthur Boulevard and Seminary Avenue escalated to gun violence on April 5, 2013.

Fluker was driving home on Seminary Avenue after a quiet night of laundry and TV with a friend when he was fatally struck in the head by a single bullet fired by McNeely, who also goes by the alias Anthony Lister, after McNeely was shot several times by Poston.

The enemy defendants have mirror defenses. Attorneys for each man argue that their client acted in self-defense under a reasonable belief that the other intended to kill, or at worst should be convicted of voluntary manslaughter for firing in the heat of passion. Where the defense attorneys differ is over their belief on which defendant instigated the shootings.


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Drew Steckler, for McNeely, argues that it was Poston who introduced a gun to a fist fight and his client didn't even reach for his gun until after Poston pointed his. David Bryden, for Poston, argued that his client only reached for his weapon after McNeely flashed his by opening his jacket.

Surveillance video shows McNeely and Poston meeting in front of the Valero market and talking briefly before McNeely starts gesturing wildly and striking Poston. Poston pulls out a .40-caliber semi-automatic pistol and fires 10 shots at McNeely and the ground, several of which hit McNeely while he's crouched in front of a car parked at a gas pump.

McNeely then loads a clip into his 9 mm semi-automatic handgun, chases Poston out of the video frame and returns fire.

The prosecutor and Steckler each argued that Poston only stopped firing because his gun jammed, while Bryden said that Poston ceased fire out of restraint. Had Poston continued firing and killed McNeely, Fluker would be alive today, Bryden said.

Pettigrew argued that neither man was justified in shooting that night and that jurors should reject both their claims of self-defense and acting in the heat of passion. Poston was quick to shoot out of anger over being disrespected by McNeely, and McNeely acted in revenge, the prosecutor said.

"Engaging in a gunbattle is a dangerous act. They both knew it was dangerous and they did it anyway," Pettigrew said.

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