OAKLAND (CBS SF) — A prosecutor told jurors Monday that two alleged gang members didn’t like it when 66-year-old anti-crime activist Judy Salamon filmed them
while they were committing a crime in Oakland three years ago so they killed her.
In his opening statements in the trial of 25-year-old Stephon Lee of Richmond and 23-year-old Mario Floyd of Oakland for the death of Salamon, Alameda County prosecutor Butch Ford said the two men should be convicted of murder and the special circumstance of committing a murder during a robbery.READ MORE: Former Police Captain Wounded During Fatal Shooting At Oakland Gas Station
Salamon was fatally shot in the 2400 block of Fern Street in Oakland’s Maxwell Park district at 1:24 p.m. on July 24, 2013.
“The evidence will show that Stephon Lee shot Judy Salamon and Mario Floyd helped” by driving away from the scene, Ford said.
He said Salamon, who was born in Hungary to a Jewish family of Holocaust survivors and had advocated hiring a private security force to patrol the Maxwell Park area because she thought Oakland police weren’t doing a good enough job, had used her cellphone to take a video of Lee and Floyd committing a crime in her neighborhood and then followed the two men in her car.
The prosecutor said at one point Lee got out of the suspects’ car, grabbed rocks from a nearby cemetery and threw them at Salamon, and Floyd also argued with Salamon and threw a garbage can at her.
Ford said Floyd later followed Salamon in his car, pulled up alongside her car to give Lee the opportunity to shoot her from his car’s passenger seat and Lee then shot and killed her.
Salamon, who lived about a half-mile away in the 2700 block of Best Avenue and worked as a dog walker, crashed her car into a parked car after she was shot, he said.
Defense attorneys for Lee and Floyd told jurors that the two men should be found not guilty because the evidence against them is weak and the prosecution’s witnesses aren’t credible.READ MORE: Family Killed On Hike In Sierra National Forest Died From Extreme Heat
Floyd’s attorney Annie Beles, who unsuccessfully objected more than 20 times to comments that Ford made in his opening statement, said, “This is a messy case from beginning to end.”
Lee’s attorney Darryl Stallworth said, “This case is based on a very poor foundation” and said statements that the prosecution’s witnesses have made don’t make sense and aren’t consistent with the physical evidence.
Before the trial began, Beles raised questions about the reliability of the evidence gathered by the lead investigator in the case, Oakland police Sgt. Mike Gantt, who was placed on leave because he had his girlfriend help him transcribe interviews in the Lee and Floyd case as well as other cases.
However, a review by the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office concluded that Gantt didn’t engage in any criminal misconduct or compromise any prosecutions and Beles didn’t say much about him in her opening statement, although she said, “There are issues about the investigative process of the Oakland Police Department.”
Beles and Stallworth both said there will be questions about the reliability of the testimony of a boy who was only 11 when he witnessed the shooting and provided statements that incriminated Lee and Floyd.
Stallworth said the boy, who is now 14, suffers from a mental disability, takes various medications, hears voices and has trouble remembering things.
Ford said that after the shooting, Lee told the boy not to say anything about it or he would kill him.MORE NEWS: Supply Chain Issues: 'There Really Are Problems Everywhere,' Even For Small Companies
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