PROSECUTOR: Principal Criminal Attorney Omar Singh, Homicide Unit
Elijah Utsey and Joshua Berry were each convicted by a jury of the first-degree murder of Terrance Hanes. The jury also found true the allegation that both defendants personally discharged a firearm causing death.
On July 1, 2022, Elijah Utsey and the victim had an argument on social media. Shortly after the argument, Utsey posted “On everything I love I will leave you slumped” on his Instagram. On July 4th, the victim was found deceased with several gunshot wounds. An autopsy revealed the victim had been shot more than 10 times. Sheriff’s detectives located 17 shell casings, which had been fired from two separate guns. The guns were never recovered. The investigation revealed that Utsey had communicated with the victim in the past. It was also discovered that on the day of the murder, Utsey and Joshua Berry drove from Oakland directly to the victim’s home in Berry’s red Mitsubishi. Surveillance video showed the vehicle being parked and two people walking towards the victim’s home. Moments later, several gun shots were heard and the two people ran back to the vehicle and left the area. After the murder, Utsey’s social media showed he messaged friends telling them he had to switch out his gun and both defendants switched phones and cell phone numbers. Berry also stopped driving his red Mitsubishi.
An allegation that Utsey has a prior strike conviction for first-degree burglary will be determined at the sentencing hearing.
Utsey faces a maximum sentence of 75 years to life in prison. Berry faces a maximum sentence of 50 years to life. Sentencing is set for October 20, 2023, at 10:30 a.m. in Department 10 before the Honorable Ernest Sawtelle.