Well. Well. What kind of grief will be heaped on the Contra Costa District Attorney for declining to press charges in this case?
I am sure there will be an uproar amongst certain segments of the citizenry which will never let facts get in the way of speculation.
San Francisco Chronicle 11.18.2019
In a surprising twist to a high-profile case, the Contra Costa County district attorney’s office declined to file criminal charges Monday against the five men police said were responsible for the shooting of 10 people — five fatally — at a Halloween party in an Airbnb rental house in Orinda.
Scott Alonso, spokesman for the district attorney’s office, said the office will “need more information” in order to file charges, and on Monday night jail records showed that four of the five men were no longer in custody.
Jimmy Lee, spokesman for the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office, which led the investigation into the shooting and announced the arrests last week, said, “We stand by our investigation.”
“The arrests were made pursuant to a judge’s order,” Lee continued, referring to the probable cause warrants that police sought to arrest the suspects. “Although the District Attorney may want more investigation done, the persons arrested and responsible for these crimes will ultimately be held to account.”
Jesse Danoff, who represents the family of Raymon Hill Jr., said he is disappointed but not surprised by the decision not to file charges.
Danoff said he disputes information about the shooting released by the sheriff’s office, including that two victims possessed guns, and wants to wait until the full report is released before making any judgments.
“I think if (charges) weren’t filed at this point, I wouldn’t anticipate any coming soon unless there’s some new developments,” Danoff said. “Whoever is talking, or gave some information, is certainly not anymore or else they would have filed charges.”
On Friday, a day after making the arrests, Sheriff David Livingston held a news conference and released some information about what investigators had found during their two-week probe but shared little about what evidence officials had to pin the case on the suspects.
He said that one of the suspects, Jaquez Deshawn Sweeney, 20, had been captured on surveillance video entering the Orinda house party with a gun.
He also said gunfire erupted during a dispute between rival gangs from San Francisco and Marin City and that two of the people killed had been armed.
The four suspects who were booked on suspicion of murder and conspiracy and were held without bail were Sweeney and Jason Iles, 20, both of Marin City; Lebraun Tyree Wallace, 28, of San Mateo; and Shamron Joshua Mitchell, 30, of Antioch.
The fifth, Devin Isiah Williamson, 21, of Vallejo was arrested on suspicion of being an accessory, officials said.
Wallace remained in custody at the Martinez Detention Facility by Monday night, while the others had been released, according to the Contra Costa County online inmate locator.
During the investigation, the sheriff’s office worked with the FBI, San Francisco police, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and police in San Mateo, Marin City, Vallejo, Antioch and Orinda. But the district attorney’s office, which is led by Diana Becton, did not appear to be part of the investigative team.
On Monday, Alonso said the investigation is continuing.
“I think everything’s on the table,” Alonso said about the possibility of future charges. “It depends on what the evidence shows. This case is very complex, and the investigation is still very active.”
Both Mitchell and Wallace have criminal records. Mitchell accepted a plea deal a decade ago on a gang-related assault charge. Wallace was arrested in Marin County on suspicion of possessing weapons.
Up until Friday, sheriff’s officials had remained tight-lipped about the shooting on Lucille Way, in a quiet residential neighborhood. Police had said the event at the home, rented on Airbnb, was advertised on social media as a “mansion party.”
“In my 32 years in law enforcement, I have never seen a homicide scene like this ever,” Livingston said Friday during the news conference. “It was a bloodbath.”
Livingston added that some people went to the party “with the intent of causing harm and conflict.”