Two Men Accused of Being Involved in Shootout at an Oakland Mini Market Face 37 Years to Life in Prison. Charges Include Enhancements for Both Defendants

Two Men Accused of Being Involved in Shootout at an Oakland Mini Market Face 37 Years to Life in Prison. Charges Include Enhancements for Both Defendants 

Two minors also charged in connection to this shooting.

May 3, 2024

Oakland, CA— Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price filed felony charges against Keeric Lamont Johnson, 23, and Joshua Smiley, 19. Both defendants were arrested following investigations by Oakland Police and Fremont Police officers. Two minors were also charged in connection with this incident. The four defendants are accused of being involved in the February 19, 2024, shootout at the Al-Awdis Mini Market on West Street in Oakland. There were five victims involved in this shooting.

The charges against Mr. Johnson and Mr. Smiley include two counts of Attempted Murder, two counts of Assault with a Semiautomatic Firearm, and one count each for shooting into an Inhabited Dwelling. All felonies. Mr. Johnson is also charged with one count of Felon in Possession of a Firearm. Additionally, Mr. Smiley is charged with Carrying a Concealed Firearm. Gun Use Enhancements were also charged against both defendants.

45 bullet casings and two firearms were recovered during the police investigation.

If convicted of all charges, Keeric Lamont Johnson and Joshua Smiley each face up to 37 years and 8 months in prison.

The preliminary hearing is set for May 15, 2024, at 9:00 A.M. in Dept 11 at the Rene C. Davidson Courthouse in Oakland.

 

Contact: damedia@acgov.org

 

The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office (DAO) is one of California’s largest prosecutors’ offices and is led by Alameda County’s first Black woman District Attorney Pamela Y. Price. Price brings her vision to this office to fairly administer justice in the pursuit of thriving, healthy, and safe communities for every person who steps foot in Alameda County, no matter their race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, income, or zip code. Price has been recognized as one of the most progressive prosecutors through her forward-thinking, innovative strategies to interrupt cycles of violence and crime and bring change to a criminal justice system rooted in systemic racism. Follow Madam DA on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, and @AlamedaCountyda on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. 

Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price’s Office Announces $23 Million Dollar Settlement Agreement with the Nation’s Largest Funeral Provider for Allegedly Violating California’s Consumer Protection Laws

Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price’s Office Announces $23 Million Dollar Settlement Agreement with the Nation’s Largest Funeral Provider for Allegedly Violating California’s Consumer Protection Laws

May 1, 2024

OAKLAND, CA — Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price, together with the California Attorney General’s Office and the District Attorneys of Marin and San Francisco, has entered a settlement with Service Corporation International, the nation’s largest funeral service provider, doing business in California as the “Neptune Society” and the “Trident Society,” for violations of California’s Unfair Competition and False Advertising Laws related to marketing and selling pre-need cremation packages. The settlement provides full restitution to consumers, comprehensive injunctive relief that requires compliance with the law going forward, and $23 million total in civil penalties, over $5.7 million of which will be paid directly to Alameda County.

“This settlement holds Neptune Society and Trident Society accountable for a practice of using deceptive price manipulation to defraud consumers and skirt legal obligations requiring them to place all funds paid for pre-need cremation services and collateral agreements in trust,” said District Attorney Pamela Price. “

The scheme involved Neptune and Trident locations selling consumers a pre-need package called the “Standard Plan,” which includes cremation services and merchandise but was marketed and sold to customers as a single plan at a single price. The Standard Plan was strategically priced below stand-alone cremation services to induce consumers into purchasing the Standard Plan. But when it came time to sign, Neptune and Trident presented consumers with two contracts, one for heavily marked-up merchandise and one for deeply discounted cremation services. When a consumer requested a refund, Neptune and Trident only refunded the portion allocated to cremation services, not any money earmarked for merchandise. Typically, consumers would be refunded less than half of their money. These practices violate California law, which requires funeral service providers to provide a full refund of the amount paid for the entire pre-need cremation package at any time before services are rendered.

Of the $23 million in civil penalties, the Neptune Society and Trident Society will pay $5,750,000 to Alameda County, pay full consumer restitution to the consumers who canceled their plans but did not get a full refund, and be subject to strong injunctive terms that provide meaningful protections for consumers. The cremation services providers must also:

  • Cease selling the Standard Plan or any similar package unless all money paid for the plan or package and money paid for any collateral agreements is placed into trust.
  • Provide clear written disclosures informing consumers of their rights under California law, including that consumers are not required to purchase additional products or services in order to purchase pre-need cremation services.
  • Provide a full refund upon request to any consumer who cancels a pre-need funeral agreement.
  • Comply with California law when advertising veterans’ benefits.

There are three Neptune Society locations in Alameda County: Castro Valley, Livermore, and Oakland. There is a Trident Society location in Fremont, and the crematorium is in Oakland.

 

Contact: damedia@acgov.org

 

The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office (DAO) is one of California’s largest prosecutors’ offices and is led by Alameda County’s first Black woman District Attorney Pamela Y. Price. Price brings her vision to this office to fairly administer justice in the pursuit of thriving, healthy, and safe communities for every person who steps foot in Alameda County, no matter their race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, income, or zip code. Price has been recognized as one of the most progressive prosecutors through her forward-thinking, innovative strategies to interrupt cycles of violence and crime and bring change to a criminal justice system rooted in systemic racism. Follow Madam DA on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, and @AlamedaCountyda on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. 

Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price Joins the Alameda City Attorney in Civil Enforcement Action Against the Owners/ Operators of Barnhill Marina & Boatyard for Alleged Violations of Tenant Protection Laws and California’s Unfair Competition Law 

Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price Joins the Alameda City Attorney in Civil Enforcement Action Against the Owners/ Operators of Barnhill Marina & Boatyard for Alleged Violations of Tenant Protection Laws and California’s Unfair Competition Law 

 April 30, 2024

Oakland, CA— Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price joined Alameda City Attorney Yibin Shen in a civil enforcement action earlier this month against the owners and operators of Barnhill Marina & Boatyard (“Barnhill”). The defendants are Valley Investments-Redwood, LLC (Valley), which purchased Barnhill in 2021, and its manager, Amarpal Narang  (“defendants”). Given the egregiousness of the violations alleged, this is the first major tenant protection action joined by the District Attorney’s Consumer Justice Bureau and the first time District Attorney Price has agreed to share her authority to enforce California’s Unfair Competition Law with a City Attorney’s office.

The Barnhill Marina, located on Alameda Island, has 56 berths occupied by floating homes. Floating home residents must pay monthly rent to Valley to occupy a berth. These renters are tenants under state law and Alameda rent control ordinances. Many of Barnhill’s tenants are low-income seniors, some in their late 60s.

The civil complaint, filed on April 11, 2024, in the Alameda County Superior Court, alleges that the defendants violated California’s Unfair Competition Law by repeatedly refusing to comply with local ordinances and state laws protecting tenants from excessive rent increases and harassment. Specifically, the complaint alleges that after Valley purchased Barnhill in 2021, the defendants repeatedly refused to follow Alameda’s Rent Control Ordinance, which requires rental housing businesses to register their units and pay mandatory Rent Program Fees. The Complaint further alleges that the defendants used unfair business tactics to harass and try to force out long-term Barnhill tenants, including by drastically raising their rents and interfering with some residents’ attempts to sell their floating homes.

“Valley’s alleged failure to follow state and local rent control laws gives it an unfair competitive advantage over law-abiding rental housing businesses in Alameda,” said District Attorney Pamela Price. “My office’s Consumer Justice Bureau is joining in this enforcement action with the Alameda City Attorney to ensure that laws protecting tenants’ safety and security are enforced and to make sure rental housing business owners are held accountable and all follow the same laws.”

The defendants have 30 days from service to respond to the Complaint.

 

Contact: damedia@acgov.org

 

The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office (DAO) is one of California’s largest prosecutors’ offices and is led by Alameda County’s first Black woman District Attorney Pamela Y. Price. Price brings her vision to this office to fairly administer justice in the pursuit of thriving, healthy, and safe communities for every person who steps foot in Alameda County, no matter their race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, income, or zip code. Price has been recognized as one of the most progressive prosecutors through her forward-thinking, innovative strategies to interrupt cycles of violence and crime and bring change to a criminal justice system rooted in systemic racism. Follow Madam DA on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, and @AlamedaCountyda on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. 

Berkeley Man Convicted of Kidnapping, Rape, Burglary, and Assault

Berkeley Man Convicted of Kidnapping, Rape, Burglary, and Assault

 

April 29, 2024

OAKLAND, CA — Today, Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price announced a jury rendered guilty verdicts against Keith Kenard Asberry Jr. for a 2008 kidnapping and sexual assault and a 2015 first-degree burglary and assault. Both crimes happened in the City of Berkeley.

In the 2008 incident, Mr. Asberry approached a teenager on Allston Way, near Berkeley High School, as she was getting into her car. The evidence showed that Mr. Asberry used a gun to force the victim to drive to a dead-end street in West Berkeley, where the sexual assault occurred. The evidence also shows that Mr. Asberry forced the victim to use her ATM card to withdraw $200 from her bank account.

In the 2015 incident, Mr. Asberry walked into the home of the victim, who had just finished unloading her car from a shopping trip. A short, violent struggle ensued as the victim fought off the attack, prompting Mr. Asberry to run out the front door.

The jury found Mr. Asberry guilty of kidnapping to commit sex crime with true findings of an allegation of use of a firearm, kidnapping to commit robbery with true findings of an allegation of use of a firearm, forcible penetration with findings of allegations of use of a firearm, aggravated kidnapping, and tying and binding, forcible oral copulation with true findings of allegations of use of a firearm, aggravated kidnapping, and tying and binding, forcible rape with true findings of allegations of use of a firearm and aggravated kidnapping. All felonies.

Mr. Asberry was also found guilty of first-degree burglary with a true allegation of a person being present and misdemeanor assault.

“I want to thank the jury for their hard work in delivering this guilty verdict,” said DA Pamela Price. Today’s verdict finally brings closure to the victims who waited years for justice to be served in this case. I congratulate Deputy District Attorney Cathryn Dalton, Inspector Jason Turner and Retired Deputy DA Mark Melton for their professionalism and hard work in presenting a successful prosecution, case, and evidence against this dangerous defendant.

I also applaud our Victim-Witness Advocates, Aurelia Morena and Claudia Romero, who provided services and support to the victims. It is important to note, justice was delayed in the 2008 case because the rape kit was not tested until 2014, six years after the crime. This resulted in Mr. Asberry

being allowed to roam free, searching for more victims, which resulted in the attack in 2015. It is clear that if the rape kit was tested immediately, Mr. Asberry would have been identified as the alleged attacker in that case because of a felony gun conviction from 2005.”

Mr. Asberry faces life in prison. He will be sentenced on Friday, May 24, at 9:00 A.M. at the René Davidson Courthouse, Department 8.

 

Contact: damedia@acgov.org

 

The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office (DAO) is one of California’s largest prosecutors’ offices and is led by Alameda County’s first Black woman District Attorney Pamela Y. Price. Price brings her vision to this office to fairly administer justice in the pursuit of thriving, healthy, and safe communities for every person who steps foot in Alameda County, no matter their race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, income, or zip code. Price has been recognized as one of the most progressive prosecutors through her forward-thinking, innovative strategies to interrupt cycles of violence and crime and bring change to a criminal justice system rooted in systemic racism. Follow Madam DA on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, and @AlamedaCountyda on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Benicia Knapps Plead No Contest to Second Degree Murder Charge and A 19 Years to Life Sentence for the Murder of Blake Mohs

Benicia Knapps Plead No Contest to Second Degree Murder Charge and A 19 Years to Life Sentence for the Murder of Blake Mohs

Members of Moh’s Family Approve Plea Deal and Were Present in Court During Negotiation with the Defense and When The Plea was Entered

April 23, 2024

Oakland, CA—Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price announces that the prosecution and defense reached a plea agreement in the case of People v. Benicia Knapps and David Guillory for the death of Blake Mohs. The plea deal covers both defendants and a gun enhancement charge against Ms. Knapps.

Defendant Benicia Knapps plead no contest to a Second Degree Murder Charge and a Gun Enhancement, and a negotiated sentence of 19-years-to-life in state prison. Her co-Defendant David Guillory pled no contest to Child Abuse, Accessory to a Robbery and Evading an Officer. He will receive 7 years and 4 months in state prison.

On April 18, 2023, Blake Mohs was working as a Loss Prevention Officer at the Home Depot store in Pleasanton and was shot to death by defendant Knapps after retrieving an item she stole from the store. “Blake Mohs was murdered for nothing more than doing his job,” said DA Pamela Price. “My condolences go out to his family, friends, coworkers and the community who are still grieving his death. While nothing can be done to undo this senseless tragedy, I hope that holding these two defendants accountable for taking Blake’s life will be an important step in the lifetime healing journey for his family and friends, and they will be able to move beyond their grief and trauma.”

The DA’s office and its Victim-Witness Advocates have been in continuous contact with Blake Moh’s family throughout the court proceedings over this past year. In open court, the prosecutor stated on the record that the resolution occurred with the blessing of the next of kin, who were present in court during the negotiations with the defense and when the plea was entered.

Benicia Knapps and David Guillory will be sentenced on June 6, 2024, at the East County Hall of Justice in Dublin.

 

Contact: damedia@acgov.org

 

The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office (DAO) is one of California’s largest prosecutors’ offices and is led by Alameda County’s first Black woman District Attorney Pamela Y. Price. Price brings her vision to this office to fairly administer justice in the pursuit of thriving, healthy, and safe communities for every person who steps foot in Alameda County, no matter their race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, income, or zip code. Price has been recognized as one of the most progressive prosecutors through her forward-thinking, innovative strategies to interrupt cycles of violence and crime and bring change to a criminal justice system rooted in systemic racism.

Follow Madam DA on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, and @AlamedaCountyda on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.