Two 18-year-old men pleaded not guilty today to murder charges in connection with an unprovoked attack in broad daylight in downtown Oakland last month that led to the death of 59-year-old Tian Sheng Yu of San Francisco.
Lavonte Drummer and Dominic Davis, both of Oakland, are scheduled to return to Alameda County Superior Court on June 28 for a pretrial hearing.
Drummer’s attorney, Adante Pointer, said the preliminary hearing for Drummer and Davis probably won’t be held until the fall at the earliest.
Pointer said, “We have a lot of homework ahead of us” in terms of reviewing all the evidence in the case.
Pointer said he and John McDougall, Davis’s lawyer, “will provide a vigorous defense” for Drummer and Davis.
Yu, who worked as a home health care worker, and his son, 27-year-old Jin Cheng Yu, were attacked in the 1800 block of Telegraph Avenue, near the newly refurbished Fox Theater, at about 3 p.m. on April 16 while they were heading to a pawn shop.
Alameda County Chief Deputy District Attorney Tom Rogers, who filed the charges against Drummer and Davis, alleged that the two young men punched Tian Sheng Yu in the face almost simultaneously and Yu’s head hit the pavement, leaving him unconscious and unresponsive.
Yu was taken to Highland Hospital in Oakland, where he died at about 11:30 a.m. Tuesday after being taken off life support.
Rogers said Drummer and Davis had been drinking and planned to attack someone because their lives weren’t going well.
Davis technically was a juvenile at the time of the incident, as he didn’t turn 18 until the following day, but he’s being prosecuted as an adult.
Judge Morris Jacobson said at the previous hearing for Drummer and Davis on April 26 that their preliminary hearing will be held within nine months and their trial will be held within two years, which is the general timeline he is establishing for all murder cases in Alameda County.