Oakland: Two men plead not guilty to murder


Two men pleaded not guilty today to murder charges stemming from the fatal shooting of a man in East Oakland in February.

In addition to murder, Curtis Yee, 44, and Vuong Dinh Phan, 35, both of Oakland, face two special circumstance allegations in connection with the death of 31-year-old Jian Jin at an apartment in the 2000 block of 16th Avenue at about 2:30 p.m. on Feb. 13.

Those allegations, which could lead to life in prison without parole or the death penalty if they’re convicted, are committing a murder during a robbery and committing a murder during a burglary.

Yee is also accused of being the person who fatally shot Jin.

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Thomas Reardon ordered Yee and Phan, who used the services of translators today, to return to court for a pretrial hearing on Aug. 26, when they will be joined by the third suspect in the case, 31-year-old Lae Lay Lokeaphone of Berkeley, who pleaded not guilty on July 15 to similar charges.

All three suspects were arrested in early May after Oakland police conducted an extensive investigation into the shooting.

The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office alleges that Yee has six prior felony convictions, two of them strike offenses which mean that he will be prosecuted under the state’s three-strikes statutes that could lead to a longer sentence if he’s convicted.

Prosecutors allege that Yee’s prior offenses are assault with a firearm, extortion, second-degree robbery, forgery, assault with a deadly weapon and second-degree commercial robbery.

Lokeaphone and Phan also are accused of having prior felony convictions but won’t be prosecuted under three-strikes statutes.

Prosecutors allege that Lokeaphone has four prior convictions: two for receiving stolen property and one each for being an accessory to a felony after the fact and first-degree residential burglary.

Phan is accused of having one prior conviction, for possession of a controlled substance.

(Copyright 2013 Bay City News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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