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Prosecutor Asks Jury for Murder Conviction for 2 Men Involved in Shooting Bystander at Bay Fair BART

Jabrie Bennett, 19, admitted last week to 'accidentally' killing Kenneth Lee Seets of Fremont. Bennett's lawyer says Seets 'was very unlucky.'

By Bay City News—

A prosecutor is asking a jury to convict two 19-year-old men of murder for a shooting outside a BART station in San Leandro last year that claimed the life of a 50-year-old innocent bystander who was waiting for a bus. 
 
Prosecutor Mark Melton told jurors in his closing argument that Jabrie Bennett and Andre Smith are both responsible for the death of Kenneth Lee Seets of Fremont outside the Bay Fair BART station at about 12:20 p.m. on Jan. 19, 2013, because they both were armed with guns and acted with reckless disregard for human life. 

Melton said Smith provoked the shooting by reaching for his gun and walking toward Bennett after his group of friends got into an argument with Bennett's friends and Bennett is directly responsible for Seets' death because one of the 10 shots he fired in response to Smith's actions struck and killed Seets. 

[Related article: Suspect in Bay Fair BART Shooting Arrested in Oakland]
 
The two groups of young people didn't know each other before the shooting, according to testimony in the case. However, Bennett's lawyer, William Locke, told jurors today that Bennett acted in self-defense because "Smith provoked a fear in Bennett that Bennett responded to." 
 
Bennett admitted on the witness stand last week that he fired the shot that killed Seets but said he didn't intend to kill Seets and his death was an accident. 

[Related article: Teen Says He 'Accidentally Killed' Fremont Man During Bay Fair BART Station Shooting]

Locke said Bennett didn't play any role in the heated argument that led to the shooting, pointing to evidence that Bennett's girlfriend and Smith's brother were the main antagonists in the war of words. 
 
The defense lawyer said it would be "profoundly unfair" for jurors to hold Bennett responsible for the role his girlfriend may have played in sparking the shooting. Smith's lawyer, Barbara Thomas, will present her closing argument on Thursday morning. In her opening statement in January, Thomas said Smith didn't cause or escalate the confrontation. 
 
Melton, who gave the first part of his closing argument Tuesday afternoon, is expected to deliver his rebuttal argument Thursday afternoon. Jurors aren't expected to begin deliberating until late Thursday or next week. 

[Related article: Trial Begins for Teens Charged with Murdering Bystander at…]
 
In addition to the murder charge for Seets' death, Bennett faces an attempted murder charge for allegedly firing 11 shots at another teen two days before the incident at the BART station. 

One of the shots struck and injured the other teen but he survived. Melton alleges that Bennett used the same .22-caliber semi-automatic rifle in both incidents but Locke said that type of gun is less dangerous than other guns. 
 
Locke told jurors that a .22-caliber bullet is "the smallest caliber bullet that's commercially available" and that a .22-caliber gun "is not the weapon of choice if you're trying to kill someone." 
 
But he admitted that a .22-caliber rifle can still kill someone and "unfortunately it pierced his (Seets') heart and killed him." Locke said Seets "was very unlucky."

Related article: BART Releases Photo of Deadly Bay Fair Shooting Suspect
jlw March 13, 2014 at 11:49 AM
Just having the guns on them, should be enough to charge with intent to kill. What else is a gun for in a public space? In fact anyone with a gun in public place should be so charged.
Belinda Seats March 13, 2014 at 09:57 PM
vedict is in 2nd degree murder for Kennneth and attempted murder for Donnell. Can't wait to be there for sentencing April 11th. Second person not guilty but charged with possession of firearm by felon. Maybe now my family can get closure and lay by brother to rest
Autumn Johnson March 13, 2014 at 11:10 PM
Oakland Man Convicted of Second-Degree Murder in Death of Fremont Man at Bay Fair BART http://fremont.patch.com/groups/police-and-fire/p/oakland-man-convicted-of-seconddegree-murder-in-death-of-fremont-man-at-bay-fair-bart
Autumn Johnson April 11, 2014 at 11:44 PM
Man Sentenced to 72 Years to Life in Prison for Fatal Shooting of Bystander at BART http://sanleandro.patch.com/groups/police-and-fire/p/man-sentenced-to-72-years-to-life-in-prison-for-fatal-shooting-of-bystander-at-bart
Ken Briggs April 11, 2014 at 11:57 PM
with so many of these kind of dumb and stupid people in prison doing time for crimes like this , if he does 25 years he will be lucky , should shoot them so they know what it feels like first before the statelets them out .

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