OAKLAND -- A 23-year-old man was found guilty of a special circumstances murder this week for killing a pimp during a botched robbery attempt that was set up by a prostitute.

Marcus Ward will spend the rest of his life in prison for killing Michael Schenk, 31, during a robbery scheme that was crafted by Ward and his prostitute girlfriend Gequesha Nolan, 22, just four hours before the killing.

A jury took less than two hours Tuesday to find Ward guilty after a relatively quick trial that included the viewing of three videotaped confessions Ward made while being held in a police interrogation room.

Nolan, who also faced life without parole, took a plea deal just before the trial in which she was found guilty of second-degree murder. Nolan will be sent to prison for 15 years to life.

The scheme to rob Schenk was crafted by Ward and Nolan after Nolan was introduced to Schenk by another prostitute who was working for him.

Schenk frequently wore expensive jewelry, carried large rolls of money and had a car that included 26-inch rims. Nolan saw the jewelry and cash and decided to rob Schenk, evidence in the case revealed.

Nolan and the other prostitute, Lashay Goulding, asked Schenk to take them to a location on Favor Street where Goulding said she had a customer waiting. Before arriving at the location, Nolan said she had to go to a KFC restaurant, where she said she had a customer waiting.

Nolan notified Ward that Schenk was going to be on Favor Street and Ward then went to the area with a shotgun, a handgun and two unidentified accomplices.


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As Schenk sat in his car, Ward walked up from behind and stuck this shotgun into the driver's side window that was slightly opened. Upon seeing the gun, Schenk tried to drive away but was immediately shot by Ward.

Ward then ran after the car and fired a handgun at Schenk to ensure he was dead, evidence in the case revealed.

Ward admitted killing Schenk at three separate times during a police interrogation. Those admissions came once when Ward began yelling at Nolan for being a "snitch" and the second came when Nolan and Ward were alone in the room and Ward bragged about "smoking the dude."

The third confession came as Ward was questioned by police and prosecutors.

Goulding was never charged in the case because there was no evidence that showed she knew about the robbery plan.

Deborah Levy, Ward's defense attorney, declined to comment.

Deputy district attorney Greg Dolge said Ward "is dangerous well beyond his years."