By Jake Romero
OAKLAND, CA — A preliminary examination hearing for three men charged with murder resumed here at the Rene C. Davidson Courthouse / Alameda County Superior Court this week with a police officer’s testimony and charge disputes from the defense counsel.
Marlon King, Kemandre King and Joshua Hayles are all charged with the special circumstance murder of Desoni Gardner, 20, who was believed to be their accomplice in a robbery-turned-shooting last fall.
The group allegedly robbed Ersie Joyner—a retired Oakland police captain—at a Chevron gas station in Oakland.
The accused are charged with Gardner’s murder because it resulted from the robbery they allegedly committed.
Oakland Police Officer Omega Crum testified about maps he created using the suspects’ cell phone data which shows the approximate locations of their phones on the day of the shooting.
Deputy District Attorney Peter McGuiness presented these maps for the court, and they showed that the phones associated with all three men pinged cell towers in the same areas—including the crime scene—throughout the day.
During cross-examination, the officer affirmed that he could not know who was in possession of the phones at a given time and that devices usually ping a tower with the strongest signal, which is not necessarily the closest tower.
Crum also testified that he did not use Joyner’s phone for any of the data mapping.
The defense later disputed the charges with Judge C. Don Clay.
Private attorney David Bryden, representing Marlon King, noted that no faces are visible in the Chevron surveillance footage and argued it was a case of “mistaken identity.”
Kemandre King’s attorney argued against the first-degree murder charge, claiming implied malice or disregard for human life could not be proven because the intended crime was robbery and video evidence shows the suspects were heading for their car with their backs turned when Joyner fired the first shot.
Private defense attorney Anne Beles also based her arguments on implied malice regarding her client, Hayles, who faces fewer charges and was allegedly the getaway driver.
Beles requested the murder charge be thrown out, noting implied malice could not be proven because there is no evidence that Hayles was armed or knew a robbery was occurring as he did not leave the vehicle.
She also cited Penal Code § 188 which states that the malice of others—such as Hayles’ co-defendants—cannot be imputed onto a party for merely participating in the initial crime.
DDA McGuiness rebutted this, suggesting that Hayles’ involvement is probable because he parked the vehicle out of Joyner’s sight and waited at the crime scene instead of immediately driving away upon hearing the gunfire.