With his black horn-rimmed glasses and close-cropped hair, London Ramon Shaw looked more like he belonged in a college classroom than a Sacramento courtroom.
But there Shaw sat Tuesday, silently, while a 30-year-old woman identified him as the man who shot and killed her boyfriend three years ago in a different murder case in a different city.
In Sacramento Superior Court, Shaw, 24, along with co-defendant Dominique Lavance Givens, 25, is on trial for murder in the June 22, 2009, shooting death of Sevon Boles, 26, during a south area pot robbery in the Willow Pointe apartment complex on Sunnyslope Drive.
If the Sacramento jury finds Shaw innocent, it would only get him a third of the way out of custody. Two more murder cases await him in his hometown of San Francisco.
Along with the Boles case here, prosecutors there have charged Shaw with murder in the July 16, 2009, shooting death of Delvon Fields, 28. A San Francisco grand jury, meanwhile, has indicted Shaw for murder in the Feb. 4, 2008, gunshot killing of Carlos Morales, 18.
Authorities in San Francisco are waiting "patiently" for the Sacramento case to wrap up in front of Judge Michael W. Sweet, San Francisco Assistant District Attorney Alex Bastian said in an interview Tuesday.
"As soon as the prosecution of London Shaw has come to a conclusion in Sacramento, we will take the next step accordingly," Bastian said. "We'll take it from there."
In his opening statement Tuesday, Deputy District Attorney Anthony Ortiz identified Shaw and Givens as players in a San Francisco street gang that operates out of their Bayview neighborhood.
Shaw and Givens came to Sacramento around the time of the Boles killing to spend time with some girls they knew who had moved up from San Francisco. Ortiz said the two defendants were making the rounds at the Sunnyslope Drive complex when they came across Boles, who was selling marijuana, and shot him dead.
"I wish I could tell you the evidence in this case is going to give you a good reason why Sevon Boles was killed," Ortiz told jurors. But, "In the end, Sevon Boles died over a small amount of marijuana."
The shooting that took Boles' life left Shaw with a gunshot wound to the leg, Ortiz said. According to the prosecutor's comments to the jury, Shaw later told a friend something to the effect of, "Me and Dom were down in Sacramento. We were trying to rob this guy, we started tussling with him, and Dom accidentally shot me."
Shaw was treated at a local hospital and questioned by investigators, but neither he nor Givens was booked into the Sacramento jail until December 2009.
Some 24 days after the Boles killing, somebody shot Fields nine times while he was driving on McKinnon Avenue approaching Third Street in San Francisco, in Bayview. Fields' girlfriend, Latoya Heckard, testified Tuesday she was sitting next to Fields in the front seat. She said Fields had just passed her a "blunt" a hollowed-out cigar packed with marijuana while their three children and his mother were in the back seat.
"I took the blunt from him, and the next thing I heard, the glass shattered and I froze, and I just watched (the killer) pull the trigger," Heckard told the jury.
Asked by Ortiz if she could identify the man behind the explosion of gunfire that engulfed her vision, Heckard replied, "London was." She said she knew Shaw from around the neighborhood since he was 6 years old.
Court papers suggested a possible reason Shaw might have been upset with Fields. The day before, the papers said, Fields tried to shoot Shaw.
The nine bullet casings retrieved from the Fields killing later captured the interest of Sacramento authorities. According to Ortiz, the casings matched the ones found at the site of the Boles homicide.
More ballistics matches were to follow, Ortiz said. On Aug. 18, 2009, San Francisco police "contacted" Dominique Givens and found a loaded .22 semiautomatic firearm in his possession. Ballistics tests identified the gun as the weapon that left the .22-caliber casings recovered from the Boles killing, Ortiz said.
In his opening statement, defense attorney Russell W. Miller, who is representing Shaw, told the jury to "listen carefully," and he will prove to them that his client did not kill Boles.
Givens' lawyer, Donald Manning, reserved his opening statement for when he begins his defense.
The Boles killing was the second in less than two months in the middle of 2009 at Willow Pointe. On April 29, 2009, Curtis Anderson, 20, was shot and killed. Two men last year pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter.