A Fresno gang member who admitted to encouraging his girlfriend to become a prostitute so she could give him money was found not guilty Friday of pointing a rifle at her and her baby daughter and threatening to kill them in February.
Instead, the Superior Court jury found Oshae Quentae Walker, 23, guilty of misdemeanor assault, a misdemeanor charge of lying to police and a felony charge of being a felon in possession of a handgun – crimes that he admitted on the witness stand to committing.
The criminal trial was unusual because Walker testified to acting like a pimp. But his lawyer, Irene Luna, told the jury that he wasn’t charged with pimping. Luna also told the jury that it’s not a crime to be a gang member.
In closing arguments of the trial, Luna contended Walker’s girlfriend lied to police because he took another girlfriend out on Valentine’s Day. She also was mad at him because he declined to accept her daughter as his own, Luna told the jury.
Though Walker admitted to carrying a gun for protection, no one saw him point a firearm at his girlfriend and her baby, Luna argued.
She’s loyal to the defendant. She works as a prostitute and gives him the money.
Fresno prosecutor Miiko Anderson said of the victim
Prosecutor Miiko Anderson, however, said Walker is an abusive, violent pimp who likes to manipulate and control women. Testimony revealed Walker has children with two women, including one who was a victim of domestic violence by him, Anderson said.
Around 5 p.m. Feb. 16, police were dispatched to the Golden Garden Apartments on Marks Avenue north of McKinley Avenue. When officers arrived, Walker no longer was at the location. He was arrested several hours later after officers learned that he was at a nearby residence. Walker was taken into custody after he failed in an escape bid, Anderson said.
During the trial, Walker’s girlfriend, who was identified in court only as Amber, was reluctant to testify and did not cooperate with investigators, Anderson said, telling jurors that Walker had made several telephone calls from jail to his girlfriend, telling her not to come to court.
“She’s loyal to the defendant,” Anderson said. “She works as a prostitute and gives him the money.”
According to Anderson, Walker threatened his girlfriend and her baby with a rifle after she put a dent in his car. The rifle, called a “chopper,” had a transparent magazine so the victim could see the bullets, Anderson said.
In a 911 call, the girlfriend told dispatch that Walker was armed with an assault rifle and police needed to arrest him or he would come back and kill her. Anderson said the girlfriend’s account was corroborated by an 11-year-old boy who saw Walker with a gun and arguing with the girlfriend.
I don’t hear fear in her voice.
Defense lawyer Irene Luna said of the victim’s 911 call
When police arrested Walker, he tried to escape, gave officers a fake name and said he was not at the apartment complex, which Anderson said was an admission of guilt. Anderson also pointed out that when Walker testified, he finally admitted for the first time he had been at the apartment arguing with his girlfriend.
But Luna told the jury that the 11-year-old never saw Walker point the firearm at his girlfriend and her baby. Luna also said Amber did not sound fearful of Walker in her 911 call. “If she is scared of him, then why isn’t she hiding,” Luna told the jury, explaining that Amber made her 911 call outside an apartment.
Walker carried a firearm because he was shot and hospitalized in December 2015, Luna said. Amber was jealous because she had slept with Walker before Valentine’s Day, but was replaced by another woman on Valentine’s Day, the lawyer said. Her anger led her to intentionally dent Walker’s car, Luna said.
In her closing summation, Luna told the jury to convict Walker of lying to police and being a felon in possession of a firearm because he has prior felony convictions. “But he’s not guilty of the other charges,” she said.
Walker will be sentenced on Sept. 26 in Judge Jonathan Conklin’s courtroom.