A judge from outside Alameda County will now step in to decide whether a judge should continue to try a murder case in which he rejected a plea deal that the defense and prosecution had agreed to, because it was too lenient.
District Attorney Pamela Price continues to make waves in Alameda County in her first few months in office. And one current battle she's waging is with Judge Mark McCannon, who last month tossed out a plea deal in a triple homicide case that would have given the suspect a 15-year sentence. McCannon is himself a former deputy district attorney for Alameda County, and he said the sentence was inadequate for the crimes committed — which included the alleged killing of a witness in one of the first murders.
The defendant is Delonzo Logwood, and he has already been in jail for eight years for the 2008 slayings of 22-year-old Eric Ford, 24-year-old Zaire Washington, and 30-year-old Richard Carter. Under the plea deal, Logwood would plead no contest to voluntary manslaughter and a gun enhancement in the killing of Ford, while the two other murder charges would be dropped. With credit for time served, Logwood would have been up for parole in 2030.
As ABC 7 reported last month, Washington's mother read a letter in court objecting to the plea deal, and the lack of justice for the killing of her son.
While still maintaining his innocence in all three crimes, Logwood spoke in court and offered an apology for his "conduct,' to which McCannon replied, "What are you sorry for if you didn’t do anything?" and "You can’t think an apology will make this all better."
Price expressed her disappointment in McCannon's ruling, and then later sought to disqualify him as a judge in this case, and in future cases that her office brings before the court. In an April 5 video statement posted to social media, Price said that McCannon "overstepped his boundaries as a judicial officer and has created a firestorm of prejudicial comments that do not, in my view, serve justice."
Logwood's trial was set to begin today, but as KPIX reports, McCannon rescinded his order to bring in the jury. An attorney for Logwood, and McCannon, confirmed that a judge outside of Alameda County would be issuing a ruling on whether to have McCannon removed from the case.
If the case proceeds to trial as planned, Logwood faces a maximum sentence of 75 years to life.
This high-profile battle with a judge came just about a week before another firestorm began over Price's handling of another case. This is the case of the November 2021 freeway shooting that killed toddler Jasper Wu, which was already charged under Price's predecessor Nancy O'Malley. Price announced two weeks ago that her office would be "reviewing" the charges against the three defendants in the case.
O'Malley earlier charged alleged San Francisco gang members Trevor Green and Ivory Bivins, along with rival gang member Johnny Jackson with murder, shooting at an occupied vehicle, and possession of a firearm by a felon. Green and Blevins were additionally charged with conspiracy to commit a crime, and criminal street gang conspiracy.
Protests have been going on since the announcement, driven largely by the Oakland Asian community, calling for Price to be recalled, among other things.