San Francisco jurors deliberated for little more than two days before convicting an Oakland man Monday of first-degree murder for the 2003 slaying of a Tenderloin man.
Joevon Bowen now faces 25 years to life in prison for the Feb. 19, 2003, fatal shooting of 26-year-old Armando Arce during an attempted robbery at about 3:30 a.m. near Willow Alley and Polk Street.
Three other men were shot in Oakland hours earlier, two of them fatally, in a robbery-murder spree Alameda County prosecutors have said was part of a plan to start a new branch of the Nut Cases, a notorious Oakland gang. The crimes had been considered a test of loyalty.
Bowen, now 32, was long considered the triggerman in Arce’s killing, but was not arrested until September 2009 following prosecutions in Alameda County of other suspects in the murders.
“I know that this took a very long time, and it’s frustrating to the family of the victim,” District Attorney’s Office spokesman Seth Steward said. “We did our best to find justice in this case, and we did just that.”
The case relied on the testimony of two other men who were in the car with Bowen at the time of Arce’s killing. Both testified that Bowen was the shooter.
One of the men was given immunity from prosecution and the other negotiated a lesser sentence in return for his testimony. Both also admitted to previously lying to police and on the witness stand, and gave conflicting statements at Bowen’s trial.
“This was a very tough case,” Steward said.
Bowen’s attorney, Mark Iverson of the Public Defender’s Office, said his client wept at the verdict. Iverson had conceded at trial that Bowen had been in the suspect car at the time of the shooting, but argued he was not involved in the crime.
“We are certainly disappointed,” Iverson said. “Obviously we respect the jury’s decision.”
The case returns to court March 17 to set a sentencing date.