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6th Man Sentenced In Killing Of Oakland Mother Defending Her Kids

OAKLAND (CBS SF) -- A 33-year-old Oakland man was sentenced Wednesday to 40 years to life in state prison for his role in the fatal shooting of a 30-year-old mother of three children in a wild gun battle in West Oakland four years ago.

Shelton McDaniels, who began his criminal career at age 15 and has three prior felony convictions as an adult, was convicted on July 10 of second-degree murder for his role in the shooting of Chyemil Pierce, 30, who worked as a human resources specialist at Kaiser Permanente.

Pierce was an innocent victim who wasn't involved in the argument and fight that led to the shooting in which more than 100 bullets were fired in the 2800 block of Chestnut Street at about 4:45 p.m. on March 9, 2015.

She had just picked up two of her three children from a charter school in the area and was struck by a stray bullet that struck her in the back of her head.

Seven other defendants were also convicted of various charges for their roles in the case. The only remaining defendant who hasn't yet been sentenced is Julian Ambrose, 21, who stood trial with McDaniels on a murder charge earlier this summer but pleaded no contest to the lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter and using a firearm during the middle of closing arguments on July 8.

The plea agreement calls for Ambrose to get a term of 15 years in state prison when he's sentenced on Sept. 20 by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Kevin Murphy, who presided over two separate trials in the case and agreed to several plea deals.

McDaniels' lawyer Stephen Avilla asked Murphy on Wednesday to only sentence McDaniels to 15 years to life in state prison for his second-degree murder conviction and not impose an additional 25 years to life for using a gun during the shooting.

During the trial, Avilla asked jurors to find McDaniels not guilty of murder because he believes that McDaniels was acting in self-defense when he fired shots as he came to the assistance of his half-brother, Jerry Harbin, 34, who was shot and wounded by one of the other participants in the gun battle between two rival groups.

But Alameda County prosecutor Butch Ford said it's appropriate to impose the gun enhancement against McDaniels because he fired the most shots during the exchange, using two guns to fire more than 20 rounds.

Murphy agreed that the gun enhancement is appropriate because McDaniels fired the most shots and has "a steady and remarkable number of prior convictions."

The judge also said the shooting disrupted the West Oakland neighborhood where it occurred and "people testified about the terror they felt."

Ford told jurors that Alex Davis, 29, Anthony Sims, 24, Michael Stills, 25, Harbin, McDaniels and Ambrose armed themselves with guns before the shootout, which he said occurred after a large group of women got into a fight.

Ford alleged that Harbin escalated the situation by pushing Joneria Reed, 41, to the ground and interjecting himself into the women's fight.

Ford said a shootout eventually ensued between Harbin and his associates from a West Oakland group known as "3rd World," which included McDaniels, Davis and Stills, and Ward, and associates from another West Oakland group known as "The Bottoms," which included Sims and Ambrose.

In a trial in 2017, Davis, Sims and Stills were convicted of second-degree murder for their roles in the shooting.

Jurors were deadlocked over Harbin's fate, but four days later he pleaded no contest to the lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter and later was sentenced to 13 years.

Davis was sentenced to 40 years to life in state prison, Stills was sentenced to 16 years to life and Sims was sentenced to 15 years to life.

Reed pleaded no contest to second-degree murder in 2017 but in June her conviction was reduced to voluntary manslaughter and she was released from custody after Murphy ruled that she testified truthfully in the 2017 trial and in the trial for McDaniels and Ambrose.

Reed's son Dijon Ward, 25, pleaded no contest to a felony count of being an accessory after the fact for hiding a gun that one of the suspects used in the shooting and was placed on five years' probation.


© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. and Bay City News Service. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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