Victim’s Family Member Shouts Expletive, Races Toward Defense Lawyer in Murder Trial
(by Jeff Shuttleworth) – The trial of a man who’s charged with murder for the fatal shooting of his 16-year-old friend in East Oakland in 2012 adjourned early today after one of the victim’s family members shouted an expletive at the defendant’s lawyer and then raced toward her.
A bailiff restrained the family member of victim Charles Hill III of Hayward before she could do anything to Christina Moore, the lawyer for defendant Kejuan Hill, who’s now 23.
Following the incident, Alameda County Superior Court Judge C. Don Clay told jurors in the case to go home early and return Thursday morning, when the trial will resume.
At least five other deputies rushed to the courtroom to restore order but no one was arrested, according to Alameda County sheriff’s deputy Sgt. Ray Kelly.
The outburst occurred during Kejuan Hill’s second day of testimony in his trial for the fatal shooting of Charles Hill, who wasn’t related to him, in the 2500 block of Church Street, near the Eastmont Town Center,
shortly after 10 p.m. on March 23, 2012.
Kejuan Hill, who was only 17 at the time of the shooting, admits that he fatally shot Charles Hill but claims he was just trying to play a prank on the other teen, didn’t know the gun he was carrying was loaded and
it went off accidentally.
Tensions in the courtroom rose after prosecutor Patrick Moriarty asked Kejuan Hill if he was hoping that the group of people he was hanging out with that night would think that the prank was funny.
Several of Charles Hill’s relatives then left the courtroom and one of them cried loudly in the hallway.
Moore, the defense lawyer, asked Judge Clay to call for a break in the trial, saying she couldn’t hear Kejuan Hill’s testimony because of the noise in the hallway.
Another of Charles Hill’s relatives then yelled an expletive at Moore and approached the attorney before she was restrained and Moore retreated to the other side of the courtroom.
In her opening statement in the trial last week, Moore told jurors that they should only convict Kejuan Hill of involuntary manslaughter, saying that the shooting was “a dumb joke, a prank by a teenager who was known to
play around too much.”
But Moriarty said he thinks the shooting was intentional and Hill should be convicted of murder.
Hill testified that he was at a party that night but left with a group of about 11 friends, which didn’t include Charles Hill, after they heard that there would be a shooting at the party.
Kejuan Hill said two of his friends got into an argument because one of the friends was armed with what appeared to be a non-functioning gun and the other friend said that was stupid because it would leave them
defenseless if there was a shooting.
Hill said one of the friends gave the supposedly non-functioning gun to him to carry and he believed it was incapable of firing because it felt light, as if it didn’t have any bullets in it.
Hill said that when he and his friends walked away from the party they happened to run into Charles Hill, who he said was sitting on a curb while he was rolling a joint of marijuana.
Kejuan Hill said he pulled the gun on Charles Hill as a prank but then it suddenly discharged and killed his friend.
Kejuan Hill said he didn’t go to the police after the shooting because he grew up in East Oakland and people there distrust the police.
Hill said that at the urging of his parents he fled to Kansas City, Missouri, where he got a job at a Denny’s restaurant using his brother’s name.
Acting on a tip, a U.S. Marshals Service-Kansas City Police Task Force arrested Hill at the Denny’s on Oct. 26, 2015, three-and-a-half years after the fatal shooting.