Police Officer, Forensic Pathologist Testify in Ongoing Murder Trial of Two Men in Alleged Laptop Theft

By Jake Romero

OAKLAND, CA — Two witnesses testified here at the René C. Davidson Courthouse / Alameda County Superior Court Monday in the trial of Byron Reed and Kejuan Wiggins—charged with the murder of Shuo Zeng, 34, on New Year’s Eve 2019 after they allegedly stole his laptop.

Khyber Mangal, an Oakland police officer, took the stand first and explained the surveillance and arrest of Wiggins on Jan. 30, 2020. Wiggins evaded capture for nearly a month after the arrest of Reed and their alleged accomplice, Javon Lee.

Neither of the defense lawyers chose to cross-examine Officer Mangal.

Deputy District Attorney Charles Bisesto then questioned expert witness Dr. John Iocco, a forensic pathologist who conducted the victim’s autopsy. Dr. Iocco said the external examination revealed multiple abrasions, lacerations and bruises across various regions of the victim’s body.

The internal examination showed multiple skull fractures at the nasal bone and temporal lobe. Dr. Iocco also noted a subdural hematoma—a pool of blood on the surface of the victim’s brain. He said these injuries indicate blunt trauma and explained how they could negatively affect a person’s ability to breathe.

DDA Bisesto asked if the injuries were consistent with being ejected from a moving vehicle, and Dr. Iocco responded, “They’re evident of force, and of [the victim] not having the ability to protect himself.”

The prosecution claims the victim pursued Reed and Wiggins into their rental car to retrieve his stolen laptop, and the two men allegedly ejected him from the vehicle at high speed.

Defense attorney David Briggs, who represents Wiggins, asked Dr. Iocco if he clipped the victim’s fingernails or if he had an opportunity to inspect any of the victim’s clothing.

Dr. Iocco said he did neither of these things because fingernail clipping is performed prior to an autopsy and the victim’s body was not clothed on the day of the autopsy.

The trial, which began last week, is ongoing.

About The Author

Jake is a senior at UC Berkeley studying English & Journalism.

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