HAYWARD — A week after being released from Santa Rita Jail on May 2, Isaiah Nolan Washington was back in custody and so was Tiara Channelle Arnold, his 17-year-old girlfriend and partner in crime.
The pair had been in trouble before. Washington's stint was the result of a November 2008 robbery committed with a handgun that had been stolen from the personal car of an Oakland police officer.
But this time it was much more serious. Police believe Washington, 21, and Arnold are responsible for the homicide of two men who were sprayed with bullets from an assault rifle as they lay face down in the middle of a Hayward street.
According to court documents, friends Rafael Avila and Carlos Buenrostro, both 18, were targeted for robbery when they parked a white Saturn sedan on Westpark Street about 1 a.m. May 9, Mother's Day.
The two were "blitzed" by their assailants, police said, and forced to the ground while their pockets and the car were searched for valuables.
Witnesses told police the robbers were yelling orders at their terrified victims, and at some point the female robber touched the Saturn, which sparked an argument between her and the man she was with, according to the documents.
She then reportedly kicked Avila in the face and a man's voice yelled, "What the (expletive)?"
The two 18-year-olds were then shot in the back. Twenty-three 7.62 mm casings — the caliber used by AK-47 variants — were found at the scene.
Prosecutors also are charging the pair with the attempted murder of a third person who was on the street nearby after the shooting and also was fired upon. Casings matching the ones at the scene of both shooting incidents were found in Washington's backyard in Oakland.
Investigators believe both Arnold and Washington wielded the weapon, jointly or possibly handing it off. Gunpowder residue later was found on both of Washington's hands.
Minutes after the shootings, police spotted a lime-green Oldsmobile 98 near the freeway onramp at A Street, about a half-mile away. The car matched the description of one seen leaving the scene, and the occupants appeared to be having an "animated argument."
When the officers shone a light on the car, it raced up the onramp, resulting in a high-speed chase that ended with the car being ditched on an East Oakland street.
Washington and Arnold were found hiding in the area near the car, which is registered to Arnold.
While Washington has been held on a probation violation since the arrest, police did not have a strong enough case to keep Arnold in custody. However, after gathering forensic evidence — including Arnold's fingerprints on Avila's car — she was rearrested Thursday and will be arraigned on murder charges Monday morning.
Records show the pair were involved in the robbery of Arnold's ex-boyfriend in 2008. Police reports state that the 16-year-old victim was lured to go with Arnold to a Fremont location because he thought they were going to have sex. But when they parked off Alvarado Boulevard, Washington appeared, opening the passenger door and showing the victim a Glock handgun with a long 28-shot magazine.
He robbed the victim of his phone, earrings and gold teeth caps, then asked if he had ever had sex with Arnold.
When he said he had, Arnold said it wasn't true, and Washington told her to slap him in the face for lying, according to reports. She did, twice.
Washington plea-bargained in that case, and was released on probation after serving a little more than a year behind bars.
According to records, "Arnold was also arrested for (robbery) in the incident, but handled informally through the juvenile court system."
Both are facing two counts of murder, two counts of robbery and one count of attempted murder. Washington faces additional charges related to fleeing police and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
There are attached special circumstances relating to multiple murder and murder in the commission of a robbery that police said could result in the death penalty for Washington.
That's something the slain boys' family members feel would be warranted.
"I would like to see them suffer the way my son suffered," said Jolanda Magana, Avila's mother. "Whether that's life in prison or death, I want them to suffer like my son did."