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Suspected West Oakland gang leader found guilty

OAKLAND -- The suspected leader of a notorious West Oakland street gang was found guilty Thursday of seven felonies, including attempted murder, and now faces at least 40 years in state prison.

Marc Anthony Candler, 35, who police and prosecutors say ran the Acorn gang and tried to kill a member of a rival gang, joked with bailiffs before the verdict was read and laughed as a court clerk announced the jury's decision.

Candler was arrested in 2008 during one of the largest Oakland Police Department raids against a gang. Candler was one of 54 suspected Acorn gang members arrested as part of a 400 officer and 17 agency raid.

The arrests followed a three-monthlong investigation by the police department in which undercover officers and wiretaps were extensively used in an effort to curb the "dangerous and violent" actions conducted at Acorn.

The raid also resulted in police finding more than 41 guns and ultimately led to the resignation of City Administrator Deborah Edgerly, whose nephew William Lovan was also said to have been a member of the gang.

Edgerly was fired, in part, after accusations surfaced that she told Lovan about the police raid. Edgerly denied the accusations and was never criminally charged.

While most of those arrested during the raid had been charged with minor drug offenses, the case against Candler was the most serious as law enforcement targeted the alleged gang leader.

Candler was charged with seven felonies related to a 2006 midday shooting in which, court records state, he shot an assault rifle more than 40 times at Jermel Holloway, a member of a rival gang.

Elijah Thomas, 26, also an suspected member of the Acorn gang who prosecutors say was with Candler during the shooting, was also found guilty of attempted murder and other felonies.

Holloway escaped the shooting but was killed last year in what is now an unsolved murder.

Nevertheless, the three-month investigation of the Acorn gang provided prosecutors with enough evidence to charge Candler with attempted murder and a host of other felonies.

Candler was also charged and found guilty of numerous felony enhancements that could result in him spending the rest of his life in prison.

"We're pleased with the verdict, the Oakland Police Department did a tremendous job," said deputy district attorney John Brouhard, who tried the case. "This was an extremely dangerous and violent criminal enterprise, and this case was a very violent and bold attack."

Candler's defense attorney, James Giller, however, said that his client never tried to kill Holloway and only went to visit him in an attempt to settle a feud the two had. Giller said Thursday that he was disappointed with the verdict and frustrated that the jury, which took less than a day and a half to decide the case, had only one Oakland resident and no black members.

"What familiarity does the jury have with Oakland?" Giller said. "What do people from south county know about Oakland?" ..

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