OAKLAND — Despite a defense attorney who insists he is a “peacemaker” and family protector, a Stockton man has been tried for murdering his sister’s boyfriend and shooting dead a family dog during a heated confrontation outside an Oakland residence supposed to show court records.
Sammie Brown, 29, was on trial for the murder of Karongie Louis Bell, 23, of Sacramento and the shooting death of a pit bull named Precious during an August 27, 2020 incident outside a home on the 1100 block of 76th Avenue. Authorities allege that Brown fired multiple shots at Bell, who had recently challenged Brown to a fistfight.
“The video clearly shows that in the case the victim removes his shirt in the street, which is an indication that someone wants a fist fight, and he is repeatedly shot at near point blank range,” Judge Kimberly Colwell said at the preliminary hearing August where she was being held by Brown to respond to the charges.
The preliminary hearing, at which prosecutors called neighbors, members of Bell’s family and police investigators to testify, found that the shooting was caught on another resident’s security camera and that Brown later claimed the shooting was self-defense. The resident who owned the camera said he watched the shooting via livestream video after hearing a commotion outside.
Bell’s friend’s family and police testified that Bell’s friend accused Bell of assaulting her and that she called Brown, her brother, while he was in Fremont. Brown later told police he came to Bell’s family’s home to get his sister in his car and walk. He claimed Bell had a pistol with an extended magazine, which none of the other eyewitnesses saw, according to the witness statement.
Eyewitnesses, including a neighbor, testified that when Bell took off his shirt and challenged Brown to a fight, Bell and Brown stood a few feet apart and yelled at each other. Then Brown is said to have drawn a gun and fired. A police investigator said another family member told authorities Brown had fired the gun at him multiple times, but it malfunctioned or ran out of ammunition.
In his police interview, Brown claimed the dog’s shooting was an accident, authorities said.
Brown’s attorney, assistant public defender Daniel Duvernay, called the shooting a manslaughter, not murder, and said Brown went there to be a “peacemaker” until the situation went wrong. He argued that the shooting was “set off by the passion and emotion of Mr. Bell’s attack on (his girlfriend)” and that Brown “made multiple efforts to leave to resolve this incredibly passionate situation.”
The prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Kristopher Villa Kiriu, admitted emotions ran high but argued that it did not excuse Brown’s actions.
“I believe – and I believe the evidence shows it – that Mr. Brown was by far the aggressor in this action in this matter,” Kiriu said.
Brown remains in Santa Rita Prison in Dublin without bail. No trial date will be set. He is due to appear in court on December 15, records show. He pleaded not guilty to all charges in September.