OAKLAND — Nearly seven years after a 17-year-old girl was shot behind a recreation center along International Boulevard, her accused killer finally had his day in court.
But at the end of a trial that lasted nearly two months, jurors were unable to reach a full verdict on 28-year-old Pittsburg resident Darion Brown. They did acquit Brown of first-degree murder, but could not decide on murder or manslaughter, according to court records.
The partial result led to a mistrial in Brown’s case, which could now either be retried, filed for plea deals, or dismissed outright. Brown is accused of killing 17-year-old Alexis Leann Ervin, an Oakley girl who was shot half a dozen times behind the Rainbow Recreation Center, 5800 International Blvd, just before 7 a.m. on June 8, 2016. in Oakland.
At Brown’s trial, which began in February, his attorney argued that several other people were present at the shooting, any of whom could have killed Alexis.
In court documents, prosecutors have described Alexis as a “sexually exploited teen” and alleged that Brown trafficked both her and her boyfriend, though charges against Brown fell through before trial. They allege that shortly before the shooting, Brown and Alexis took selfies together about a block from where Alexis was killed, and that he fired a total of 14 shots at her.
Brown was arrested at a Berkeley gas station on the same day as the shooting by an officer responding to a report of Brown apparently in a mental health crisis. A firearm was found in his backpack, along with a hairbrush containing DNA from Alexis. During a subsequent police questioning, Brown denied shooting anyone, court documents show.
During the nearly seven-year span between Brown’s arrest and trial, Brown decided to fire his public defender and represent himself, but eventually relented on that front. 2018, a judge found Brown mentally incompetent to stand trialand ordered him hospitalized so doctors could render him competent again and return him to prison to face trial.
While still awaiting transfer to the state hospital, Brown allegedly threw urine on an Alameda sheriff’s deputy at the jail, and was later charged with a felony. That case is still pending, although it may be difficult to prosecute due to the court’s determination regarding Brown’s mental illness.