Carnell Taylor acquitted in alleged gang-related murder of Jamal Gaines in Japantown 

click to enlarge At a vigil for the murdered Jamal Gaines, family members said Gaines was trying to put his life back together when he was shot in his car in Japantown earlier this year. - COURTESY OF YOUTUBE
  • Courtesy of Youtube
  • At a vigil for the murdered Jamal Gaines, family members said Gaines was trying to put his life back together when he was shot in his car in Japantown earlier this year.

A man accused of murdering a rival gang member in Japantown early this year was found not guilty of all charges Thursday, the Public Defender's office said.

A jury deliberated for five days before acquitting 25-year-old Carnell Taylor Jr. of fatally shooting Jamal Gaines on Jan. 19. Gaines was shot about 5:30 p.m. as he sat in his parked Mercedes near the corner of Post and Fillmore streets. The gunman walked up to the driver's side window and opened fire, according to witnesses. Gaines drove a short distance and crashed into a parked car.

Taylor was arrested 11 days after the murder and accused of being a member of the Eddy Rock gang, one of seven Western Addition gangs. Gaines was reportedly a member of the rival Chopper City gang, although his family denied that he was a gang member to NBC Bay Area, saying in an interview after his death that they didn't know Taylor or why Taylor would have wanted to kill Gaines.

Both Gaines and Taylor were named in a civil gang injunction pursed by The City six years ago.

According to Taylor's attorney Matt Gonzalez, the jury acquitted Taylor because witness accounts of the murder differed and the descriptions of the gunman were inconsistent.

Taylor was spotted on surveillance video about six blocks away at about the time of the shooting, but cellphone records failed to pinpoint exactly where he was when Gaines was killed, the public defender's office said. Also, the clothing he was wearing in that video differed from what witnesses said the gunman was wearing.

Gonzalez said Taylor simply did not commit the crime.

"Mr. Taylor maintained his innocence from the beginning," Public Defender Jeff Adachi said. "Fortunately, his public defender was able to present evidence that police and prosecutors had the wrong man."

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