Man sentenced to 118 years to life for Berkeley shooting

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Sophie Ho/Staff

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Six years after a shooting in South Berkeley that left one man dead and another wounded, a judge sentenced Brandon Wallace to 118 years to life in state prison Thursday for first-degree murder and attempted murder.

Wallace was convicted for the murder of Gary Ferguson Jr., 35, and the attempted murder of Larry Belle in a shooting outside of Johnson’s House Styles, a barbershop. Judge Jon Rolefson denied a defense motion requesting a new trial based on testimony made by the case’s second defendant, Coleon Carroll, according to SFBay News.

According to the Mercury News, Wallace testified in March that he had gone to Richmond the morning of the shooting to meet up with a friend. Carroll — who pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced to 13 years in prison in March — also told Wallace’s defense attorney Bonnie Narby that Wallace was not present on the day of the shooting.

After Wallace’s initial conviction in March, Carroll contacted Wallace’s defense attorney and said it was Jermaine Davis, Wallace’s cousin, who was with him on the day of the shooting. Carroll testified during Thursday’s trial, repeating his information.

Narby attempted to use this information as reason for a new trial, saying that at the time of the shooting, Wallace and Davis looked very similar — both men having sported dreadlocks — and that witnesses could have misidentified Davis for Wallace. Davis was shot and killed in a separate shooting in July 2013.

The Mercury News reported that surveillance footage of the shooting showed the shooter accidentally being shot by an unidentified accomplice in the left leg, matching a gunshot wound Wallace received and was treated for that same day. According to Deputy District Attorney Matthew Wendt, blood found in the passenger seat of the PT Cruiser believed to be the shooter’s getaway car was tested and found to match Wallace.

Wallace was arrested after authorities responded to Kaiser Permanente Medical Center’s report of a left leg gunshot wound. He initially gave the authorities a false identification and claimed that he was the victim of an attempted armed robbery and was shot in the leg while fleeing.

After multiple delays and attempts to prove his innocence, Wallace will begin serving his sentence at San Quentin State Prison.

Contact Ashley Wong at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @wongalum.

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