2003 Tenderloin gang initiation murder case now before jury 

A Superior Court jury is reviewing evidence in an 8-year-old murder case involving a man accused in a fatal shooting allegedly tied to a plan to revive a notorious Oakland gang.

The Feb. 19, 2003, shooting of 26-year-old Armando Arce capped a violent several hours in which a total of three men were murdered — including two in Oakland — in what Alameda County prosecutors have said was part of a plan to start a new branch of the Nut Cases. Gang members were said to have committed several Oakland murders and robberies around that time.

After many of the gang’s leaders were arrested, prosecutors said the group became weaker and the early 2003 robbery-slayings were considered a loyalty test.

Arce, a San Francisco resident, was shot about 3:30 a.m. in the Tenderloin in what was believed to have been an attempted robbery.

Although Joevon Bowen, now 32, of Oakland was long suspected of being the shooter, he was not arrested until 2009. San Francisco prosecutors said then that new information was obtained following the successful 2008 prosecution of an alleged co-conspirator.

That man, Monterrio Davis of Oakland, was sentenced to life in prison for the two Oakland shootings and for his role as a lookout in Arce’s murder.

Bowen’s attorney, public defender Mark Iverson, has argued that statements by two prosecution witnesses who identified him as the shooter were not to be believed.

Iverson said the two men, one of whom received immunity from prosecution and the other negotiated a lesser sentence in return for testimony, admitted to lying to police and on the witness stand previously.

The lawyer conceded that Bowen was in the car, but said he had no intention to commit any crime. He has disputed his client’s alleged connection to the gang.

“He was not involved,” Iverson said.

aburack@sfexaminer.com

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