Judge Dismisses Charge Against One Defendant in Beating Death Case
(by Jeff Shuttleworth) – A judge today dismissed a murder charge against one of two young
Oakland men who were charged in the brutal beating death of a 55-year-old man
in a West Oakland park about a year ago.
At the end of a preliminary hearing for Jabari Jones, 20, and
Breshawn Clark, 19, in connection with the Feb. 22, 2017, death of Phillip
Fai Low, a homeless man who sold meat on the street, Alameda County Superior
Court Judge Morris Jacobson said prosecutors didn’t present enough evidence
to have Clark stand trial.
Jacobson said, “I might not be right on this” and told prosecutor
Chris Cavagnaro that he could re-file the murder charge against Clark if more
evidence against him is developed.
But Jacobson ordered Jones to stand trial on a murder charge,
since a 15-year-old boy who was with Jones and Clark at the time of the
beating death told police that he saw Jones kick Low about 15 times.
The 15-year-old boy testified on the first day of the preliminary
hearing last week that Jones was angry at Low because he thought Low had been
“snitching” on him.
The boy said Low didn’t deserve to be killed because “that man
didn’t do nothing to anybody.”
Oakland police Officer Jose Barocio wrote in a probable cause
statement last year that witnesses saw Jones punch Low with a closed fist and
stomp on him multiple times at Lowell Park in the 1000 block of 12th Street
early on Feb. 22.
Jones and Clark left the area but returned and Jones stomped on
Low some more while Clark stole $1.14 from him, Barocio wrote.
Jones and Clark left again but returned for a third time while Low
was still lying on the ground and not moving and Jones assaulted him once
more, according to Barocio.
At one point, Jones and Clark placed Low inside a shopping cart
and threw him into water, Barocio wrote.
Eventually a 12-year-old child who was walking to school saw Low
lying motionless in the park and called 911, according to Barocio.
Paramedics were summoned to the park but Low was pronounced dead
at the scene, Barocio wrote.
Oakland police Officer Michael Jaeger wrote that officers found
Low lying face down on a wet sidewalk the morning of Feb. 22.
Officers who interviewed Jones noticed that he had a cuts on one
of his fingers and on his knuckles and there were red marks on his shoes that
appeared to be blood, Jaeger wrote.
Cavagnaro argued that Clark should be ordered to stand trial on a
murder charge for being an accomplice to Low’s beating death because he took
money from Low and helped Jones move Low’s body.
But Jacobson said he thinks it would be a stretch to have Clark
stand trial for murder under the felony murder rule, in which a person can
stand trial if they participate in a dangerous crime even if they didn’t have
an intent to kill, because Clark and Jones aren’t charged with robbery.
Jacobson said he thinks that the intent of Jones and Clark was to
“humiliate” Low, not necessarily to rob him.
Jones is scheduled to return to court on Feb. 20 to have his trial
date set. Clark faces minor charges in other cases but could be released from