By Helen Greenia and Jake Wylie
DUBLIN, CA – The ongoing trial of Ronyae Haywood and Angel Shavers, alleged to have killed two men, was interrupted Tuesday morning here in Alameda County Superior Court when an altercation during the court’s first morning recess left Shavers fearing for her life.
Upon returning from the recess, Associate Deputy Public Defender Amy Yellen, representing Shavers, informed the court that her colleague saw two women confront Shavers during the recess in the hallway outside the courtroom.
According to Yellen, one of the individuals, believed to be one of the victims’ sisters, told Shavers that she had Shavers’ address after it was displayed in open court, knew where she lived, and threatened “that she would beat her [Shavers’] ass.”
The other individual, believed to be a sister or friend of the same victim, is alleged to have started recording Shavers with a phone camera after the break began, said Yellen.
“My client [Shavers] knows which ones they are, and she said she just saw them in the hallway,” said Yellen. “They’re still here. At this point, my client is feeling like her life is in danger.”
After explaining that Shavers had a panic attack and needed to go outside to calm down, Yellen asked Judge Michael Gaffey to have the individuals alleged to have confronted Shavers removed from the courtroom.
“There’s a lot of high emotion on both sides,” said Defense Attorney Lamiero, representing Haywood. “It’s difficult for me to really, truly believe anyone’s telling the truth about what’s going on outside the courtroom.”
“I don’t think we need the…comments about what or not is truthful; my client is very afraid right now,” responded Yellen.
Judge Gaffey resolved the matter by ordering that the two individuals in question, and a third believed to be in their “entourage,” be “vanished” from the courtroom and removed from the court building and grounds.
“I’m not sure that’s going to satisfy Ms. Shavers,” said Judge Gaffey, “but that’s the best this court can do at this particular time.”
Before the first recess, attorneys had spent the morning cross-examining San Leandro Police Officer Timothy Perry, who answered questions about the timeline of his investigation, records of text messages sent between the individuals involved, and surveillance footage from the night of the deaths.
First reported by news sources early last year, Haywood, 28, is alleged to have fatally shot Duane Palmer, Jr., and Tyler Dalton Kline in a grocery store parking lot around 11 p.m. on March 13, 2020.
According to law enforcement documents, the incident that culminated in Palmer and Kline’s deaths was the sale of an assault rifle gone awry.
Shavers, 21, was later charged as an accessory. Court documents note that Shavers admitted to setting up the sale between Haywood and Palmer, as well as being present for the shootings.
The Mercury News reported in April that year that on the night of the transaction, Palmer and Haywood got into a verbal altercation which ended when Palmer attempted to flee the area in his vehicle. While driving away, Haywood allegedly fired at Palmer’s vehicle several times and hit two of the four passengers: Palmer and Kline.
Inmate records show that Haywood was arrested on April 2, 2020, and has since been held without bail in Santa Rita Jail.
Following the afternoon recess, Haywood was put on the stand to share his testimony about the shooting and answer a series of questions about the rifle.
When Lamiero asked Haywood if he had been attempting to sell the rifle, Haywood responded that he was, though he had been having a difficult time selling it until Shavers found a couple interested in purchasing it.
“We were broke at the time. It was a way for us to get money at the time,” said Haywood, explaining why he and Shavers needed to sell the rifle.
When asked what he expected to receive in exchange for the rifle, Haywood answered, “A compact 347 [handgun], $300, and an ounce of marijuana.”
After the individuals involved agreed to a transaction, Haywood made the ultimate decision to go to a grocery store parking lot to exchange the rifle with Palmer and Kline. He stated he picked the grocery store outlet because it was “a wide open area.”
“I felt safer there. I felt like I didn’t have to worry about anything. There’s lights, cameras, and a grocery store,” said Haywood.
Parked in the grocery store parking lot, Haywood was sitting in the driver’s seat of his car when he was approached by Palmer, who asked him to move to a different location. After moving his car, Haywood stepped out and greeted Palmer.
Haywood stated that he retrieved the rifle from the right backside passenger door, and that Palmer did not want to touch or examine the rifle. Haywood understood, and put the firearm into the trunk of Palmer’s car.
Explaining the exchange, Haywood stated, “[Palmer] asked me if the rifle was loaded and I told him no. Palmer responded, ‘Well, the gun I’m giving you is loaded’ and he pulled the magazine out and showed it to me and he slid it back in there.”
Haywood said he asked Palmer for the money, marijuana, and the firearm, and Palmer told him that the money was in the center console.
As Haywood explained, Palmer searched around in the center console from the driver’s side of the car. “He went to the center console, fidgeted around a little bit, and then turned around with the gun pointed at me,”
At this point, Haywood realized there was a second individual in the passenger’s seat. As Palmer pointed the gun toward Haywood, the passenger instructed Palmer to shoot Haywood.
“I put my hands up like this, and I stepped back,” Haywood said, gesturing. “After that, the passenger told him, ‘Shoot him.’ After that, I grabbed my gun and I shot [Palmer].”
Haywood explained that he fired the first shot because he felt Palmer was going to kill him. He did not receive the money, marijuana, or firearm from him. Haywood did not know if Palmer was going to come out of the car or if he was injured, so he continued shooting.
“Oh my god, I’m going to die,” Haywood said, recalling his thoughts at that moment. “I’m going to die around the corner from my house. I’m going to die around the corner from my mom’s house.”
Haywood ultimately claims that he shot at Palmer and Kline for fear of losing his life and that he was defending himself. Haywood told the jury he did not feel it was wrong to fire the shots, because he was the one who was robbed.
The trial is set to reconvene on Nov. 10.