A highly controversial case that has been the source of considerable courtroom drama in Alameda County in recent months has ended with a sentence that is unlikely to feel like justice for the families of three murder victims.
33-year-old Delonzo Logwood, who has been in jail on three homicide charges for the past eight years, was sentenced to 12 years for a 2008 murder-for-hire killing, and on Thursday the judge signed off on the plea deal negotiated by District Attorney Pamela Price. Price has said that Logwood, who was 18 at the time of the crime, was over-charged under her predecessor, former DA Nancy O'Malley. And in June, that same judge, Judge Mark McCannon, agreed to toss out two other murder charges at Price's request, after a star witness backed out of the trial.
McCannon had not been so friendly to Price's motions in this case previously. In March, McCannon tossed an earlier plea deal for 15 years, saying it did not sit right with him. And he excoriated Logwood in the courtroom after Logwood, who has professed his innocence to all three murders, apologized in the courtroom for his "conduct" and added, "I’m going to turn a negative into [a] positive. Please forgive me. I’m sorry."
"What are you sorry for if you didn’t do anything?" McCannon asked.
Even now, after Thursday's hearing, Judge McCannon sounded angry with the process and the plea agreement, as Bay Area News Group reports. In particular, he called out a provision of the plea deal in which the DA's office has agreed not to refile charges in the future in the two cases that were dropped.
"I’m not going to honor that — you are not going to control the narrative," McCannon said, adding that he was shocked the DA's office would tie their own hands in the event that new evidence surfaced. "Your office is willing to gamble with that?" the judge asked.
Price insisted insisted in a statement that her handling of this case had anything to do with politics.
"This plea bargain is supported by the facts, the evidence and the law and it is consistent with our responsibility to see that justice is done," Price said. "I was elected to make difficult but fair decisions, and I am not playing political games with these cases."
Price added, "There is a reason this case languished for so long. My administration inherited difficult, unresolvable cases from the O’Malley administration and we are cleaning up the messes."
Logwood was originally charged with the July 2008 murder-for-hire of 22-year-old Eric Ford, and two subsequent murders that same summer, 24-year-old Zaire Washington, and 30-year-old Richard Carter. He will now face four more years in prison for the killing of Ford, however, as Bay City News notes, he could be out in as little as two years.
Ford's mother has been vocal in her objection to Price and the plea deal, saying in a note that was read aloud in court, "What will she do next? Dismiss it completely?” She added, "May God protect all of the other families who have lost loved ones to violent crime, because this district attorney does not care."
A recall campaign has begun against Price, just six months into her tenure — which about tracks with the schedule of the recall effort against former SF District Attorney Chesa Boudin. But even in Boudin's case, while the police union was highly vocal about his prosecutions of police shootings, there seemed to be fewer high-profile cases that the public objected to his handling of — and the recall's success seemed more tied to general dissatisfaction with the state of the city and rampant petty crime.
In addition to the Logwood case, Price has faced pressure over the prosecution of suspects believed to be involved in the November 2021 freeway shooting of 2-year-old Jasper Wu. And in May, we learned that the family of slain brothers Suiti and Manase Mesui, who both shot and killed in September 2021, were also raising objections to a plea deal brokered by Price's office.