alameda county

Guilty verdict in killing of marijuana grower

An Alameda County jury on Tuesday convicted an Alameda man of murder in connection with the fatal shooting of an Oakland marijuana grower who was set up to be robbed in an Alameda apartment complex in 2011.

The jury deliberated for about one day before it found 25-year-old Christopher Donaldson guilty of first-degree murder the April 20, 2011, shooting of 32-year-old William Adrian Falcon Sapp, and of second-degree robbery for the armed robbery of another marijuana grower in Berkeley in February 2011.

Prosecutor Patrick Moriarty told jurors that Donaldson set up both victims to be robbed after answering their Craigslist ads offering marijuana for sale. Both times, Donaldson sent two other men that served as the fake buyer and the robber, Moriarty said.

Sapp fought back his alleged robber, Charles Kimbrough, and then was shot and killed by the fake buyer, Richard Ezell. Ezell, 25, of Mendocino County, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in exchange for a prison sentence of 15 years to life. The criminal case against Kimbrough, 32, of Hercules, is still pending.

Defense attorney Mario Andrews had argued for an acquittal in the case. He told jurors that Donaldson did not participate in the Berkeley robbery, and was looking to buy marijuana from Sapp, not have him be robbed.

Donaldson faces at least 26 years to life in prison at his sentencing before Judge Jon Rolefson on Aug. 15.

-- Malaika Fraley, Staff

HAYWARD

Police investigate fatal motel shooting

Police on Tuesday continued to search for the family of a man found fatally shot inside a motel room in the city's north end last week.

The man, who is in his 20s, was found unresponsive about 11:50 a.m. Thursday by a maid at the Budget Inn on the 21000 block of Foothill Boulevard, said Sgt. Marc Orsmby.

The man's name had not been released as of Tuesday because authorities were trying to locate family members, who may be living out of the country.

The man was found in a room on the motel's second floor, lying in bed with a single gunshot wound to the head. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police are asking anyone with information to contact them at 510-293-7000 or the anonymous tip line: 510-293-7197.

-- Natalie Neysa Alund, Staff

east bay

Seniors invited to scam workshops

Seniors can get information on how to avoid scams at free workshops this week in Union City and San Lorenzo.

California Contractors State License Board representatives will answer questions and help those who have fallen victim to scams.

The sessions will be 1:30-3:30 p.m. Thursday at the Ralph & Mary Ruggieri Senior Center, 33997 Alvarado-Niles Road, Union City, and 1-3 p.m. Friday at the San Lorenzo Village Homes Association, 377 Paseo Grande, San Lorenzo.

The Senior Scam Stopper workshops are hosted by the state board and Assemblyman Bill Quirk, D-Hayward.

-- Rebecca Parr, Staff

HAYWARD

Indecent exposure suspect arrested

Police busted a convicted sex offender for allegedly masturbating in the driveway of a city nursing home over the weekend and said it wasn't the first time they caught him in the act.

Officers were called about 1 p.m. to Saint Regis Retirement Center in the 23000 block of Mission Boulevard for a report of a man acting suspicious in the bushes, Sgt. Mark Ormsby said.

Officers found suspect Ronald Ballard Slater, 54, in the driveway masturbating, Ormsby said.

A check of Slater's criminal history revealed he'd been convicted of indecent exposure multiple times, including two incidents in Hayward in 2006 and 2010, police said.

Officers arrested Slater -- a transient known to frequent Hayward -- on suspicion of one count of indecent exposure, one count of indecent exposure with a prior and one count of being under the influence of a controlled substance.

-- Natalie Neysa Alund, Staff