News


Jury convicts 'Sunny Day' defendant for 2012 murder

Jerry Coneal III convicted of first-degree murder in death of Christopher Baker

A Menlo Park man who was part of the 2014 "Sunny Day" gang arrests in San Mateo County was convicted of murder and special circumstances charges on Thursday for a gang-related shooting that killed an East Palo Alto man in 2012.

Jerry Coneal III, 22, was found guilty of the October 2012 slaying of rival gang member Christopher Baker in East Palo Alto. A San Mateo County Superior Court jury convicted him of first-degree murder with two special circumstances: lying in wait and murder for gang purposes; and additional use of a firearm and gang enhancements, which would add to his sentence. The murder and special circumstances charges carry a life-without-parole sentence, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office.

Coneal's use of a firearm with deadly force adds a sentence of 25 years to life, Sean Gallagher, a deputy district attorney who supervises cases that involve homicide and gangs, said.

Baker was killed in what the District Attorney's Office termed a gang-retaliation attack while he was attending a memorial for someone prosecutors believed was associated with gangs on Oct. 5 at 8:20 p.m. in the 2200 block of Terra Villa Avenue in East Palo Alto. Police found him suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The jury conviction came after 26 days of trial and three days of deliberations. Coneal is scheduled for sentencing on Sept. 20. He remains in custody without bail.

In an email, Peter Arian, Coneal's defense attorney, said he had no comment on the case.

San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said he and prosecutors are grateful to the jury for the conviction.

Coneal now faces another trial on a murder charge of a shopkeeper who was an innocent victim in Santa Clara County, Wagstaffe said.

Co-defendent Miguel Angel Rivera Jr., 23, of Menlo Park pleaded no contest to second-degree murder in Baker's killing on July 10. He received a 35-year sentence on July 28 for his part in the crime. He is also serving an additional 14-year, four-month sentence for being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. The two sentences are to be served consecutively.

In March 2014, San Mateo County officials indicted and arrested 16 people purportedly involved in East Palo Alto gangs for a rampage of murders and other crimes. Of those defendants, all but three have been convicted and are serving sentences of varying lengths, many of which are decades long, he said.

Three defendants are still awaiting trials: Tyrone Love-Lopez is charged with the killing of 21-year-old Lamont Coleman in East Palo Alto on Jan. 26, 2013. He faces trial in October; Marvin Ware is being tried for a shooting in Belmont, which took place on U.S. Highway 101; and Nina Cragg is being tried int the Coleman killing. Ware and Cragg have trials set for January 2018, Wagstaffe said.

Several state, local, county and federal law-enforcement agencies worked with the district attorney's Bureau of Investigations, including Mountain View, Belmont, East Palo Alto and Milpitas police, the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office, the federal Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Marshals Office and the U.S. Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Some of those defendants have received decades-long prison sentences and others are still awaiting trials.

Dave Boyce is a staff writer with the Weekly's sister paper The Almanac.

---

Follow the Palo Alto Weekly/Palo Alto Online on Twitter @PaloAltoWeekly and Facebook for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story said the memorial was for another murdered gang member, but the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office has since clarified that it was for someone prosecutors believed associated with gangs.

What is democracy worth to you?
Support local journalism.

Comments

3 people like this
Posted by Someone Has 2 Stand Up
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Sep 1, 2017 at 10:12 pm

Ok this Sunny Day member that just been convicted of the murder of Chris Baker first before anything Baker was not attending a memorial for a gang member it was his cousin and he was not in a gang media get facts straight and this 22 year old man is going to spend all of his life locked up he will never experience nothing but then again neither will the man he killed Justice? No I think not if these gang members had the notion to think incidents out half would be able to avoid this and you wonder what was wrong with the parents did they not notice a problem when they first acted out? Don't wait for tragedy before intervention


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

Su Hong Palo Alto's last day of business will be Sept. 29
By Elena Kadvany | 19 comments | 6,106 views

Firing Judge Persky as a tennis coach was a big mistake
By Diana Diamond | 23 comments | 1,968 views

Premarital, Women Over 50 Do Get Married
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,925 views

Electric Buses: A case study
By Sherry Listgarten | 2 comments | 1,766 views

Natural Wines?
By Laura Stec | 2 comments | 1,709 views

 

Register now!

On Friday, October 11, join us at the Palo Alto Baylands for a 5K walk, 5K run, 10K run or half marathon! All proceeds benefit local nonprofits serving children and families.

More Info