In the 2021 Oakland freeway shooting of two-year-old Jasper Wu, two men and one woman were initially charged with engaging in the shootout that resulted in Wu's death. On Wednesday, a judge ruled that two of them will stand trial for murder, but the third was exonerated due to self-defense.
The November 2021 I-880 Oakland freeway shooting of two-year-old Jasper Wu galvanized the Bay Area over the tragic killing of a toddler, believed to be the result of gunfire between rival gangs. That suspicion gained credibility when three suspects were arrested a year later, all allegedly affiliated with gangs. But it drew plenty of media uproar for new Alameda County DA Pamela Price when she said she would be "reviewing" the murder charges filed against the three by her predecessor. It drew far less media attention two weeks later when KRON4 reported Price said the charges against all three would stand, including gang enhancements.
But it’s ultimately up to a judge to decide which charges will proceed to trial. And the Chronicle reports that on Wednesday, two suspects Trevor Green and Ivory Bivens will stand trial for murder. But KTVU adds that the third, Johnny Jackson Jr., was exonerated by the judge on murder charges.
A fourth suspect, Keison Lee, had already been killed in a separate drive-by shooting a year after Jasper Wu was killed.
The was some question on whether Price would challenge the gang enhancement charges, as she’s generally been opposed to enhancement charges that lengthen prison sentences. Yet all of the enhancement charges are still in place. DNA matching Trevor Green’s sister was found on one of the shell casings, so the murder charges against Green and Bivens will proceed. But the judge ruled that Jackson shot back in self-defense, effectively because Green and Biven fired at his vehicle first.
“You don’t lose your right to self-defense because you’re in a gang,” Judge Scott Patton said Wednesday. He also questioned whether these were actual gangs, or merely informal groups of friends who’d given themselves a nickname. That line of defense seems sure to come up in their trials.
Jackson was exonerated on murder charges, but is not a free man. He still faces felony gun possession charges over the incident, and is still being held on $100,000 bail. (He’s been held for six months without bail.) Green and Bivens, meanwhile, have an arraignment scheduled for June 8.
Related: Alameda County DA Says She’s ‘Reviewing’ Murder Charges In Toddler Shooting, Received ‘Racist Messages’ Since [SFist]
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