Blacknell sentenced to life without parole for 2009 crime spree

blacknell, melson, russell

Joe “Fatter” Blacknell III was sentenced to life in prison plus more than 200 years without possibility of parole for the March 2009 murder of an up-and-coming East Bay rap artist and a September 2009 shooting and carjacking spree in Richmond and Oakland. Blacknell, now 21, was arrested after a brief foot pursuit with Richmond…

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Jailhouse interview with Joe ‘Fatter’ Blacknell, who faces life in prison for ’09 slaying

joe fatter blacknell

How do you say hello to a convicted murderer? The thought darted through my head as I strode through the Martinez Courthouse jail facility’s winding corridors of concrete and steel. In moments I would be face-to-face—albeit divided by two-inch thick Plexiglas—with Joe Blacknell III, the young man described by police and District Attorney’s Office officials…

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Prosecutor reflects on trial, conviction of Joe ‘Fatter’ Blacknell in Richmond gang case

As the jury’s deliberation dragged into a second week, the pressure mounted. Always unflappable in the courtroom, prosecuting attorney Derek Butts nevertheless found himself wracked with inner anxiety. “Those two weeks were brutal,” Butts said. For more than a month in the trial of Joe Blacknell III, Butts’ scratchy monotone had never wavered. Hostile witnesses…

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Blacknell convicted in murder of Marcus Russell, other counts

Joe blacknell marcus russell

Joe Blacknell III was found guilty Thursday of 20 felony counts, including the first degree murder of Marcus Russell in 2009. Jurors reached their decision after more than eight days of deliberations. Blacknell, 21, was convicted on 20 out of 22 felonies with which he was charged. He was found not guilty on two counts…

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Blacknell’s mother takes stand in Richmond murder case

shawny bo and joe fatter blacknell

Joe Blacknell III’s mother took the stand in his defense Wednesday, testifying that her son is a hip-hop fan and father of three, and not a violent gang member who killed one man and wounded at least four others in 2009, as police and prosecutors allege. “You guys make him out to be this,” said…

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Blacknell defense opens case, focuses on science and inconsistent witnesses

On the first day of witness testimony for the defense, public defender Diana Garrido spent several hours focused on what may be the prosecution’s biggest weaknesses in its case against Joe Blacknell III: shaky witnesses and inconclusive scientific evidence. The prosecution’s star witness, a woman shot and wounded while driving with murder victim Marcus Russell,…

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Richmond gang detective alleges Blacknell built reputation for violence

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Throughout most of 2009, neighborhood cliques of mostly teens and young adults were locked in a back-and-forth feud, intensified by ambitions for respect and reprisal. Mixed with the hot tempers and youthful indiscretions, social networking sites had become bulletin boards for taunts, and a burgeoning hop-hop video scene on YouTube bristled with boasts and threats.…

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Despite intense interrogation, Blacknell’s story consistent

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The burly detective turned up the intensity, sometimes yelling in a bass-heavy bellow, cursing frequently. His partner chipped in some grim facts—she reminded the 18-year-old suspect about the prospects of a lifetime behind bars. And it wasn’t just a tough-talk routine. The detectives feigned that they had evidence—DNA, surveillance and witnesses—solid as the iron bars…

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Autopsy report: Russell died after being shot at least eight times

marcus young smacka russell

The trauma of at least eight gunshot wounds assured the death of 21-year-old Marcus Russell, a coroner’s examiner testified Tuesday. “It was the totality of all the gunshot wounds put together,” said Dr. Thomas Rogers, forensic pathologist for the Alameda County Coroner’s Office. “A large amount of internal bleeding caused shock” from which Russell never…

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Richmond murder victim’s mother testifies

marcus russell

On the night before his death, Marcus Russell’s nerves were uneasy, and a red minivan was lurking curbside a few blocks from his grandmother’s house, his mother testified Monday. But before Faith Russell could see who was driving the red minivan, which she said she saw several times in her neighborhood in the months leading…

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