The Oakland triple-murder trial of Delonzo Logwood was already a hornet’s nest after a judge threw out a plea deal and Alameda County DA Pamela Price tried to remove him from the case, and now that same judge has agreed to dismiss two of the three murder charges against Logwood.
It was arguably the highest-profile embarrassment in the new tenure of Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price when a judge rejected her plea deal in a triple-murder case, and Price responded by trying to disqualify that judge from the case. Well, a third-party outside judge denied the motion to disqualify that judge Mark McCannon from the case, the case of defendant Delonzo Logwood, who’s accused of killing three men in 2008, and has been in jail for the last eight years.
Two of the three murder charges against Delonzo Logwood have been dropped due to an uncooperating witness. https://t.co/UXXlZeIGRt— KTVU (@KTVU) June 1, 2023
But Judge McCannon gave DA Price a pretty favorable ruling on Wednesday, as KTVU reports that McCannon dismissed two of the three murder charges against Logwood. Even though this was Judge McCannon’s decision, it’s probably going to play in the media as Price trying to lessen charges on an accused killer. And that is at least half-true, as Price’s office did request that two of the murder charges be tossed. But the reason is more complicated, as a star witness backed out of testifying, which jeopardized the case.
"We learned back in January that this witness was not guaranteed to testify," Price’s office said in a statement to KTVU. "Additionally, his testimony was very problematic in terms of contradicting objective facts and our ability to secure a conviction in any of the cases was extremely tenuous."
Veteran prosecutor tells me former DDA (under O'Malley) on Delonzo Logwood case made major mistake by giving key witness a reduced sentence BEFORE he testified at trial. Witness got out in February, now refuses to testify. Two of Logwood's murder charges got dropped today. pic.twitter.com/G65XQJMW0N— Dan Noyes (@dannoyes) May 31, 2023
And KGO’s Dan Noyes, who’s certainly done some dogged but very critical coverage of Price, seems to cut her office some slack in his latest scoop. “Veteran prosecutor tells me former [deputy district attorney] (under O'Malley) on Delonzo Logwood case made major mistake by giving key witness a reduced sentence BEFORE he testified at trial. Witness got out in February, now refuses to testify.”
In other words, the star witness got out of jail early for agreeing to testify against Logwood, and now that he’s out of jail, he’s backed out of that agreement. (The reference to “O'Malley” is former Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley, Price’s predecessor.)
The victims whose murder charges were thrown out are Richard Carter and Zaire Washington. Logwood is still scheduled to stand trial on murder-for-hire charges for the third victim, Eric Ford.
But will he stand trial on that murder charge? The Bay Area News Group reported that Thursday morning, another possible plea deal is in the works, though the possible terms of that deal have not been disclosed.
Image: @AlamedaSuperior via Twitter