The Governor George Deukmejian Courthouse in Downtown Long Beach. File photo.
The Governor George Deukmejian Courthouse in Downtown Long Beach. File photo.

Jurors on Friday acquitted two men of murdering a man and wounding his cousin in a 2017 shooting after a party in North Long Beach.

Brandon Vincent Davis, 29, and Darshay Holland, 26, could have faced life in prison if they were convicted, but jurors decided the two weren’t guilty after defense attorneys argued the evidence showed they weren’t the gunmen.

The pair was accused of shooting two men—Deon Robinson, 47, and his cousin Stephan Harvey, 36—in a gang-fueled dispute on Oct. 7, 2017 near 56th Street and Orange Avenue. Harvey survived but Robinson died at the scene, according to authorities.

At trial, prosecutors said Robinson and Harvey confronted a group of people leaving the party by announcing the name of the gang Robinson belonged to.

Trial begins for alleged gang members accused of conspiring to kill rival gang member

Someone responded with the name of a different gang and shots rang out, attorneys said as the trial began on Jan. 11.

The defendants fired at least a dozen shots at the victims, neither of whom appear to have been armed, according to the prosecutor, Deputy District Attorney Robert Song.

But Davis’ attorney, Adam Koppekin, said the position of the shells left at the scene pointed to someone other than Davis and Holland being the shooters. And he argued the eyewitnesses who identified the defendants as the shooters weren’t entirely reliable.

“They were unfamiliar with the gentlemen who were there for the most part,” he said after the verdict Friday.

After less than a day of deliberations, jurors ultimately acquitted Davis on one count of murder, one count of attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder. Holland was cleared of one count of conspiracy to commit murder and one count of witness intimidation for allegedly telling a woman who witnessed the crime to “keep her mouth shut.”

A third man, Ricky Lee Vaughn, is also charged with conspiracy to commit murder and being an ex-felon in possession of a handgun, but he was not included in the trial because he’s being held in San Bernardino on a different case, according to authorities.

Valerie Osier contributed to this report.

Jeremiah Dobruck is managing editor of the Long Beach Post. Reach him at [email protected] or @jeremiahdobruck on Twitter.