(KRON) — One of three men accused of killing 1-year-old Jasper Wu will not stand trial for murder. An Alameda County judge ruled on Wednesday that there was insufficient evidence compiled against defendant Johnny Jackson Jr.
Jackson, 28, will only face one charge — being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Prosecutors said Jackson was one of four men involved in a rolling gun battle between rival San Francisco gangs on an Oakland freeway. Jasper, who was riding in his family’s car, was killed in the crossfire on Interstate-880 on the afternoon of Nov. 6, 2021.
Former district attorney Nancy O’Malley charged Trevor Green, Ivory Bivins, and Johnny Jackson with murder, as well as gang and street terrorism enhancements. The fourth man, Keison Lee, was killed in a separate gang shooting before investigators could arrest him.
All but one charge filed against Jackson was “discharged” by Judge Scott Patton on Wednesday following after a 13-day preliminary hearing, his defense attorney, Annie Beles, said.
“Mr. Jackson committed no act that caused the death of this child,” Beles told KRON4. “We are extremely pleased with Judge Patton’s thorough and complete ruling. Johnny Jackson was a victim of an unprovoked attack.”
A spokesperson for Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price confirmed to KRON4 that Jackson will only face the gun possession charge. The District Attorney’s Office said Green and Bivins will go on trial for murder.
Green, Bivins, Jackson, and Lee were members of two rival gangs, Chopper City and Eddy Rock, based in San Francisco, according to O’Malley. Green and Bivens were driving in an Infiniti on I-880 when Jackson and Lee drove past in a Nissan Altima.
Beles said Jackson was a victim of an unprovoked freeway ambush.
Prosecutors said a shot fired from the Infiniti missed the Nissan, and traveled through the windshield of the Wu family’s car. Jasper, who was sleeping inside his mother’s white Lexus sedan, was shot in the head.
“The Wu family has suffered an unspeakable loss. The depraved indifference shown by these suspects shocks us all and cannot be tolerated,” CHP Golden Gate Division Chief Ezery Beauchamp said at a 2022 news conference.
Santa Rita Jail inmate records show Green, Bivens, and Jackson remained locked up on Thursday without bail. The trio of defendants will be back in court on June 8.
Price has faced criticism since she took office in January, and hate messages escalated when reports surfaced that she might go easy on the suspects charged with the toddler’s death. “Someone is suggesting that I should have a bullet in my forehead,” Price said of the threats. Price said no plea deals will be offered in the Jasper Wu case.