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Oscar Grant’s Cousin Sentenced In Oakland Robbery Case

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Tony Jones, a cousin of Oscar Grant, is suing the Oakland Police Department after he was shot by an officer on February 19, 2012. (CBS)

Tony Jones, a cousin of Oscar Grant, is suing the Oakland Police Department after he was shot by an officer on February 19, 2012. (CBS)

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OAKLAND (CBS SF) — A cousin of Oscar Grant III was sentenced Thursday to nearly 16 years in state prison for his conviction for robbery, using a firearm and being a felon in possession of a firearm for an incident in East Oakland a year ago.

In sentencing Tony Jones, 25, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Joan Cartwright scolded him for what she described as his “complete lack of respect for the community and women.”

Cartwright was responding to remarks by prosecutor Allyson Donovan, who said Jones uttered profanities to her after jurors convicted him on Jan. 31 and threatened to have sex with a female courthouse security officer he encountered during his trial.

Donovan said Jones should get the maximum sentence possible because “he’s a menace to society and would be a menace on the streets” because he threatened to kill a witness in the case as well as a bailiff and the bailiff’s family.

Jones, who had two prior robbery convictions as well as two convictions for assaulting correctional officers, was convicting of robbing a man at gunpoint outside the Fairfax Liquor Store at Foothill Boulevard and Cole Street at about 11 p.m. on Feb. 19, 2012.

Donovan said Jones had an accomplice who has never been arrested.

A short time later Jones was shot and wounded by Oakland police Officer Cesar Garcia in the 2000 block of 62nd Avenue.

Donovan said Garcia had stopped a van in which Jones and the other suspect were traveling and Garcia shot Jones because Jones ran from the van with a gun in his hand and later made a move which the officer believed indicated that Jones was reaching for the gun.

Jones has filed a $10 million civil rights lawsuit against Garcia and the city of Oakland alleging that they violated his constitutional protections against unlawful detention, unlawful arrest and the use of unreasonable force.

The suit alleges that Garcia shot Jones in the back and accuses the officer of assault and battery and false imprisonment.

Jones’ lawsuit was put on hold pending the outcome of his criminal trial.

Grant, a 22-year-old Hayward man, was shot and killed by former BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle at the Fruitvale BART station in Oakland early on Jan. 1, 2009, after Mehserle and other officers responded to reports of a fight on a train.

Mehserle, who claimed that he meant to use his stun gun on Grant and fired his service weapon by mistake, was charged with murder but was convicted of the lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter.

Jones is the son of the sister of Grant’s father, according to Oakland attorney John Burris, who represented Grant’s family in a wrongful death lawsuit against Mehserle and BART.

Jones’ lawyer, Waukeen McCoy, said Jones is still suffering from the injuries he sustained when he was shot by Garcia and is confined to a wheelchair.

McCoy argued Thursday that Jones should get a new trial, alleging that Cartwright erred by not allowing the defense to present evidence to support its claim that Jones couldn’t have been the person who robbed the victim in the case because he was at a different location at the time.

McCoy also said Cartwright shouldn’t have allowed the prosecution to tell jurors about one of Jones’ prior robbery convictions and argue that Jones had a criminal state of mind in the February 2012 incident and had a common scheme and plan for committing robberies.

But Cartwright denied the defense motion for a new trial, saying she believes that Jones received a fair trial and jurors disregarded the defense’s contention that Jones couldn’t have been one of the people who robbed the victim in the case.

Jones faced a possible maximum total sentence of 17 years and eight months but Alameda County Superior Court Judge Joan Cartwright gave him a total of 15 years and eight months, only sentencing him to 3 years for his robbery conviction instead of the 5-year maximum.

Cartwright also sentenced Jones to 10 years for using a firearm, 2 years for a prior robbery conviction and 8 months for being an ex-felon in possession of a firearm.

McCoy said he plans to appeal Jones’ conviction.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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