Woman Ordered to Stand Trial on Murder Charge for 2016 Homicide
(by Jeff Shuttleworth) – A judge today ordered an ex-felon to stand trial on a murder charge for the fatal shooting of a 40-year-old woman in West Oakland in December 2016.
Alameda County Superior Court Judge Morris Jacobson said at the end of a preliminary hearing for Tanika Beltcher, 35, that there’s circumstantial evidence that Beltcher had an intent to kill Tamu Irene Myers,
who was shot in the 900 block of 21st Street at about 5:45 p.m. on Dec. 28, 2016, and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Jacobson said the location and number of gunshot wounds that Myers suffered indicate that Beltcher exhibited express malice and had an intent to kill because Myers had her back turned when she was shot in the head.
Witnesses identified Beltcher as the person who was in possession of a firearm and who had fatally shot Myers, Oakland police Officer Phong Tran wrote in a probable cause statement shortly after the shooting.
Beltcher, who lives in the area where the shooting occurred, admitted after she was arrested that she shot and killed Myers over a personal dispute, Tran said.
Beltcher’s lawyer argued that she didn’t exhibit malice in the shooting and said she should only be ordered to stand trial on the lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter.
But Jacobson said he believes prosecutors produced sufficient evidence to have Beltcher stand trial on murder as well the enhancement of discharging a firearm to cause Myers’ death, which could add 25 years to her
sentence if she’s convicted of murder.
In addition, Jacobson ordered Beltcher to stand trial on a charge of being an ex-felon in possession of a firearm, as prosecutors say she was convicted of felony possession for sale of cocaine base in Alameda County in
Jacobson said that although he thinks Beltcher intentionally killed Myers, “I understand there are other possible explanations” for the shooting that the defense could explore at her trial.
Jacobson also said that while he doesn’t think that Beltcher acted in self-defense, as no knife was found to support Beltcher’s claim that Myers was armed with a knife, the defense could try to develop evidence of
self-defense before Beltcher stands trial.