A prosecutor told jurors Monday that there's enough evidence to convict two teenagers of murder for the shooting death of an off-duty paramedic in the Oakland hills two years ago.
In his opening statement in the trial of Christian Burton, now 18, and David McNeal, now 17, prosecutor Glenn Kim said Quinn Boyer, 34, who grew up in Oakland and worked as a paramedic for five years, was killed in a crime spree in April 2013 in which McNeal, Burton and four other teenagers committed two carjackings and a robbery.
Boyer, who was in a Honda Civic, was shot shortly before noon on April 2, 2013, after he pulled to the side of the road on Keller Avenue just below Skyline Boulevard to reply to a text message on his cellphone, Kim said.
After he was shot, Boyer crashed his car down a ravine in the 5200 block of Keller Avenue. He died two days later of a single gunshot wound to his head. He had been in Oakland that day to take his father to a medical appointment.
McNeal, who was 15 at the time, Burton, who was 16 at the time, and the four other teens, whose ages at the time ranged from 13 to 15, had begun their crime spree about an hour earlier, at about 11 a.m. on April 2, 2013, by stealing a gold Dodge Intrepid at gunpoint from a man outside the Island Market on High Street in East Oakland, Kim said.
The six teenagers were supposed to be in school that day but "they didn't care," Kim said.
As the teens drove away in the Dodge Intrepid, they decided it was too cramped so they planned to carjack a bigger vehicle, Kim alleged.
The prosecutor said the teens were following a potential target on Keller Avenue but then saw Boyer pulled over on the side of the road and decided that he would be a convenient victim.
Burton and one of the other teens, Nazhee Flowers, got out of the stolen Dodge Intrepid and Burton shot Boyer, Kim said.
He said McNeal had had the gun at the beginning of that day but Flowers had the gun when he got out of the car and handed it to Burton.
Kim said Burton later admitted to Oakland police that he had shot Boyer, but claimed that the shooting was an accident and he had only meant to scare Boyer.
The prosecutor said the six teens continued their crime spree three hours later by stealing a red Honda Civic at gunpoint from a man at 944 E. 24th St. in East Oakland. He said McNeal was the suspect who pointed the gun at the victim and Flowers was the driver of the carjacked vehicle.
Some of the teens continued the crime spree the following day, on April 3, 2013, when they were trying to sell parts of the stolen Dodge Intrepid, Kim said.
He said Flowers and McNeal approached a 13-year-old boy who was walking home from school in Oakland so they could rob him and McNeal shot the boy in the hip.
The teens stole the 13-year-old's hat but later threw it away, Kim said.
The prosecutor said the evidence in the case proves that Burton is the teen who fatally shot Boyer. He said McNeal should also be convicted of murder because he was an active participant in the shooting.
Kim said three of the teens pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in juvenile court for being accessories to the fatal shooting of Boyer.
Flowers pleaded guilty in adult court to a carjacking charge and was sentenced to 15 years in state prison.
Burton's lawyer, Ernie Castillo, said Burton should be found not guilty of the murder charge, saying that the description provided by the only person who witnesses the fatal shooting of Boyer, a woman driving her car to a pizza restaurant to get food for construction workers at her house, matched Flowers, not Burton.
"The clothing description she provided was distinct and it wasn't Christian Burton," Castillo said.
The defense lawyer said Burton initially told police that he
wasn't the shooter and alleged that the only reason that he later confessed was that police officers used "sophisticated tactics" when they interviewed him and lied by saying they had evidence that proved he was the shooter.
McNeal's lawyer, David Bryden, said McNeal should be found not guilty of murder because he didn't shoot Boyer, never spoke to Boyer, didn't help the shooter and didn't drive the getaway car.
Bryden didn't address the other charges against McNeal, which include carjacking, robbery and assault.
A large number of family members and friends of Boyer attended the opening statements in the murder trial Monday.