In a surprising turn of events, Alameda County Deputy District Attorney Peter McGuiness made a strategic move just moments before presenting his case to the jury. McGuiness decided to dismiss the special circumstances enhancements and allegations of prior convictions, which would have led to longer prison terms for the defendants if convicted. While McGuiness did not delve into the details, he described it as a decision made by his office.
The defendants, Teaunte Bailey, 28, and Demetrius Britton, 58, are currently facing charges for the murder of 75-year-old Pak Ho during his morning walk in Oakland’s Adams Point neighborhood on March 9, 2021. Bailey and Britton are believed to have targeted Ho, who was known to carry a significant amount of cash and his cellphone in a satchel. Ho, described as a beloved neighbor and father, sadly fell victim to their crime.
During his opening statement, McGuiness painted a vivid picture for the jurors, revealing that Bailey and Britton had spent the morning searching for potential robbery victims around Oakland. Security footage captured Bailey swiftly approaching Ho, striking him in the face, stealing his belongings, and fleeing back to a golden Ford SUV driven by Britton. A witness, who happened to be on a morning walk as well, witnessed part of the robbery but chose to flee and hide during the subsequent murder.
Tragically, Ho was left severely injured in a pool of his own blood and later succumbed to his injuries at the hospital. The prosecution’s case heavily relies on GPS records from an ankle monitor worn by Bailey at the time, which not only places him at the scene of Ho’s murder but also links him to a prior home invasion robbery of a 72-year-old Oakland resident three weeks earlier.
As the defense prepares to make their opening statement, David Briggs, representing Britton, attempted to introduce testimony from a man named Melvin Hines. Hines claimed to have overheard Bailey and Britton discussing their actions while riding on a bus from Santa Rita Jail to court. While Judge Scott Patton refused to allow jurors to hear Hines’ statement, it alleged that Bailey indirectly admitted his involvement and implicated another individual named “Black” as the true co-perpetrator. Hines, who recently received a lengthy sentence for manslaughter in an unrelated homicide case, provided a sworn declaration recounting the conversation.
The decision to drop the enhancements aligns with Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price’s campaign promises. District Attorney Price, currently facing a recall effort, had campaigned against special circumstances enhancements and the Three Strikes Law, both of which result in extended prison terms for felony convictions.
If Britton and Bailey are convicted as charged, they could face sentences of life with the possibility of parole. The trial is set to unfold in Oakland, Alameda County, as the court proceeds with the proceedings. The defense will surely bring forth their arguments in the upcoming days, shedding light on their version of events.