In a dramatic turn of events, Deputy District Attorney Peter McGuiness surprised jurors by dismissing special circumstances enhancements and allegations of prior convictions in a murder and robbery case in Oakland. The defendants, Teaunte Bailey, 28, and Demetrius Britton, 58, are accused of brutally murdering 75-year-old Pak Ho during his peaceful morning walk in the Adams Point neighborhood on March 9, 2021.
McGuiness, while presenting his overview to the jury, made the unexpected decision to drop the enhancements without providing specific details. This decision by his office raises eyebrows and leaves many wondering about the reasons behind it. The dismissed enhancements would have led to longer prison terms for both defendants if found guilty. Bailey has prior strike convictions for burglary, while Britton has prior robbery convictions, according to court records.
During his opening statement, McGuiness portrayed Bailey and Britton as callous individuals who spend their mornings scouring Oakland for unsuspecting victims to rob. Unfortunately, Pak Ho, a widower who walked with a cane, became an easy target on that fateful day. Described as a neighbor, a father, and a beloved member of the community, Ho carried cash and his cellphone in a satchel, making him vulnerable to the duo’s nefarious plans.
Video surveillance footage captured the horrifying incident, showing Bailey approaching Ho with his arm outstretched, striking him in the face, and forcibly taking his belongings. Bailey then swiftly returned to a golden Ford SUV, driven by Britton, where Ho lay injured and defenseless. Tragically, Ho succumbed to his injuries at the hospital. The prosecution made it clear to the jury that Bailey’s ankle monitor’s GPS records would be crucial evidence, placing him not only at the scene of Ho’s murder but also linking him to a previous home invasion robbery three weeks earlier.
As the defense prepares to present its case, David Briggs, Britton’s lawyer, attempted to introduce testimony from a witness named Melvin Hines. Hines claimed to have overheard Bailey and Britton conversing on a bus ride from Santa Rita Jail to the court. According to Hines, Bailey admitted his involvement in the crimes and suggested that another person named “Black” was the true accomplice. However, Judge Scott Patton deemed the statement unreliable and barred it from being presented to the jury.
The dismissal of the enhancements aligns with District Attorney Pamela Price’s campaign promises. Price, who is currently facing a recall effort, campaigned against special circumstances enhancements and the Three Strikes Law, advocating for shorter prison terms for convicted felons. While the motive behind McGuiness’s decision remains undisclosed, it is in line with the direction set by the current district attorney.
If found guilty of the charges leveled against them, Britton and Bailey could face life sentences with the possibility of parole. The trial continues, and the courtroom remains abuzz with anticipation as the defense prepares their opening statement.