By Jake Wylie
OAKLAND, CA – The defense teams for Damone Haynes and Anthony Rhodes clashed as they delivered their closing arguments in the final act of a murder/carjacking trial here Tuesday in Alameda County Superior Court.
Judge Trina Thompson first heard Lindsay Horstman, Haynes’ attorney, explain to the jury that they themselves had heard Rhodes lie in court about his ownership of a cell phone linked to the crime, calls made from that phone, and his relationship to the victim.
“[Rhodes] claimed to not even know how to find [the victim], despite buying heroin from [the victim] in the hundreds previously,” said Horstman.
Horstman also identified discrepancies between phone number records, international mobile equipment identity numbers which belonged to the phones in question, and testimony by the defendants of this case which meant that the jury could not reasonably rely on these pieces of evidence.
“When I say the phone records do not prove anything about who committed this crime, I mean that literally,” said Horstman.
Damone Haynes, Sr., 46, and Anthony Rhodes, 45, were charged with the carjacking and murder of a man who was killed in the early morning hours of July 26, 2019.
Rhodes was arrested in early 2020 and was found to have heroin, methamphetamine, and 40 caliber ammunition in his home in San Francisco. Haynes was arrested several weeks earlier after a witness identified him as a shooter the night of the murder.
The victim was shot while sitting in his van. At the crime scene, spent ammunition casings for a 40 caliber firearm were found. Two casings and two marks where bullets had apparently struck were found inside the van.
“There isn’t anything honest in this case,” said Christopher Alan Martin, Rhodes’ attorney, rebuking Horstman’s statements. “(Officer Gerald) Moriarty knew that my client, Anthony Rhodes, had nothing to do with this case. But he chose to arrest him anyway.”
These pieces of evidence were collected by Officer Moriarty, an Oakland Police Department homicide investigator, and his partner during a walk-through of the crime scene the night of the crimes.
With the help of a police technician, Officer Moriarty obtained surveillance footage from a convenience store near the scene of the crime which Officer Moriarty previously said “captured the murder.”
Terrell Martinez, 47, was identified and charged as an accessory shortly after Haynes and Rhodes were charged in 2020.
In closing, Haynes’ counsel revisited the surveillance footage Officer Moriarty obtained as proof that Martinez “wasn’t just the driver” but played a larger role in the alleged conspiracy to commit a crime.
“Anthony Rhodes is innocent. What happened in this case was Moriarty trying to drive a square peg into a round hole… [T]o be falsely convicted of murder  is about the most horrible act that a human being gets in this world, and that’s what happened in this case,” said Martin, asserting that Officer Moriarty had put words into Martinez’s mouth while questioning him in order to link Rhodes to the crime.
To help illustrate his point about Officer Moriarty’s alleged fabrication of evidence, Martin took several minutes to explain the plot of the 1992 film, “My Cousin Vinny.”
Both defense teams ended their arguments with pleas to the jury.
“Are you strong enough and faithful enough in the rules of our system to turn to the prosecutor and say, ‘I understand why you prosecuted this case,’ but brave enough, courageous enough, and committed enough to admit that the case has not been proven to you… and therefore the law compels you to vote not guilty?” asked Horstman.
The Davis Vanguard has previously reported on this case, including cell phone mapping by the district attorney’s office, testimony by an Oakland Police technician who collected surveillance footage of the crime, and health complications during the trial.